Walt Disney Parks & Resorts filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Disney is alleging the governor has launched “a targeted campaign of government retaliation—orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech—now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.”
At Disney’s annual shareholder meeting earlier this month, Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, commented that Gov. DeSantis “got very angry over the position Disney took” against a controversial Florida bill and has “decided to retaliate against us.”
Following Disney’s statements against that bill, the governor dissolved Walt Disney World’s self-governing Reedy Creek Improvement District. In its place, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District was formed, giving the state control over Disney’s special district. The governor has also threatened to impose taxes on Disney’s hotels and place tolls on roads that serve Disney’s theme parks. Moreover, the governor recently threatened to put a state prison nearby.
Iger previously called DeSantis’ actions “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”
In the complaint, Disney highlights that it’s being “forced to defend itself against a State weaponizing its power to inflict punishment.”
“Disney regrets that it has come to this. But having exhausted efforts to seek a resolution, the Company is left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect its cast members, guests, and local development partners from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.”