The ongoing battle between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and entertainment giant Disney has reached another pivotal juncture. Allies of DeSantis are now urging a state judge to deliver a summary judgment against Disney in ongoing litigation, hoping to bypass the ordeal of a trial entirely.
This development stems from a contentious relationship that began last year, with Disney publicly expressing its disapproval of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law. This legislation restricts teaching topics related to gender identity and orientation in early school grades. After that, Disney claimed that DeSantis retaliated by overhauling the board overseeing Walt Disney World through legislation passed by Florida lawmakers.
A Florida judge should rule without trial against Disney as the company fights Gov. Ron DeSantis’ takeover of a board that oversees Walt Disney World, the Republican governor’s appointees said in a court filing. https://t.co/HoKlLfpS2G
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 16, 2023
DeSantis’ appointees to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) are challenging Disney’s actions, stating the company unlawfully stripped them of their authority over design and construction within the resort. They argue that the prior board, which Disney heavily influenced, did not have the right to make certain agreements. Furthermore, this board is said to have failed to provide proper notice and unlawfully transferred governmental authority to a private company.
One cannot disregard the implications of this lawsuit for both parties involved. If the CFTOD’s request for a summary judgment is granted, prior agreements made with Disney could be nullified. This would erode the entertainment company’s influence over Disney World and its surrounding parks.
On the other hand, Disney remains steadfast, suggesting the state’s actions are in retaliation for their earlier opposition to the education law. They’ve taken the stance that DeSantis’ moves infringe upon their First Amendment rights.
This week on CNBC’s “Last Call,” DeSantis advised Disney to retract its lawsuit against the state. “They’re going to lose that lawsuit,” he commented confidently. Advocating for fairness in business practices, DeSantis emphasized that other park competitors, such as Universal and SeaWorld, do not receive the same special privileges that Disney has enjoyed. “All we want to do is treat everybody the same, and let’s move forward,” DeSantis remarked.
The governor’s sentiments reflect a broader concern among some Americans regarding special privileges awarded to certain corporations at the expense of others. The idea of leveling the playing field, especially when it involves a company as influential as Disney, resonates with many conservative Americans who value fairness in business.