Disney vs. DeSantis: Federal Lawsuit Will Now Center on Alleged Political Retaliation

Less than a month after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis boldly claimed that the state has “moved on” from the protracted legal spat with Disney (NYSE: DIS), the entertainment giant has decided to streamline its lawsuits and focus the federal case on just the First Amendment assertion that DeSantis engaged in political retaliation against the company. 

Disney last week asked to drop the other federal cases related to Walt Disney World’s development contracts after the company last month filed a state-level countersuit to deal with these matters.

“We will continue to fight vigorously to defend these contracts, because these agreements will determine whether or not Disney can invest billions of dollars and generate thousands of new jobs in Florida,” a company spokesperson told CNBC in a statement.

This development marks the latest twist in Disney’s legal battles against Governor DeSantis, which originated from the company’s public opposition to the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the state. 

DeSantis, in his pursuit of the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has engaged in culture-war skirmishes and repeatedly criticized Disney, even going so far as to label the company as “woke” and accuse it of “sexualizing children” — allegations Disney CEO Bob Iger vehemently denies.

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In response to Disney’s stance on the bill, DeSantis and his allies took aim at the special tax district that had long allowed Disney to autonomously manage its Orlando-area theme parks. Measures were enacted to alter the district’s name and reconstitute its board, a move that prompted Disney to draft development contracts aimed at safeguarding its future Florida investments. Subsequently, in April, DeSantis’s newly appointed board voted to void these contracts, leading to Disney’s federal lawsuit.

This move is expected to expedite the legal process concerning Disney’s contracts and the associated disputes. 

Information for this story was found via CNBC, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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