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DeSantis’ Tourism Board Requests Judge Dismiss Disney’s Lawsuit Against Governor

Disney Board DeSantis lawsuit
Credit: Disney/ Flickr

For weeks, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been on the campaign trail, as he hopes to be the next President of the United States. DeSantis has been actively campaigning against “woke” agendas and defending his controversial changes regarding how Florida teachers conduct lessons about slavery. He has also been unable to escape talking about Disney. The Florida Governor is being sued by Disney for retaliation after he passed laws targeting them because they spoke out against a bill that DeSantis championed.

Ron DeSantis Megyn Kelly

Credit: The Megyn Kelly Show

DeSantis has repeatedly said that he only started singling out Disney after ex-CEO Bob Chapek denounced Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. The governor has admitted to retaliating multiple times, both on the campaign trail and in his new book. However, he does not think that Disney should be able to sue him for it. DeSantis’ legal team has said that Disney cannot sue him because he has “absolute legislative immunity.” Disney, however, has said that DeSantis is trying to “evade responsibility” for his actions.

Disney CEO Bob Iger

Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr

DeSantis has asked a judge to dismiss Disney’s lawsuit against him, but Disney is demanding the case move forward in the courts. Now, another group is voicing their support of the governor. That group is none other than the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Committee — the board hand-picked by DeSantis to control Disney World when he stripped the company of its right to self-govern.

In a statement filed with the court, the CFTOD said that Disney’s lawsuit was only filed “to frustrate the will of the People of Florida.”

Disney confirms that the Agreements at the heart of this dispute were entered to frustrate the will of the People of Florida, expressed through their elected representatives, about how to organize the governance of the State: the Agreements, Disney states, were meant to ‘secure’ for Disney ‘long-term certainty … [b]efore RCID’s dissolution and governance changes took effect…

Disney must do more than generalize: It must show that the State Defendants have specific, formal power to enforce the challenged laws, such that an injunction against them would ‘be effectual’…

The Constitution … does not entitle Disney to a local government that functions essentially as the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, nor does it grant Disney a right to undermine the State’s attempt to end that corrupting arrangement.

Central Florid Tourism Oversight District

Credit: WKMG Orlando

It is important to note that Disney is also currently embroiled in a lawsuit against the CFTOD. Before the new board took power, the outgoing Reedy Creek board made a deal with Disney. That deal gave Disney the power to control what happened in the district until 28 years after the death of the youngest living descendant of King Charles.

DeSantis has since passed a law voiding any deals that Disney made with the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Disney has asked a judge to dismiss its lawsuit against the board, since the deal is now moot, but a judge dismissed Disney’s motion and said the board deserved to be heard.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

The CFTOD has been flexing its muscles lately. The board managed to finalize contracts with firefighters and paramedics who service Walt Disney World Resort. They have also made budget cuts, so they can use the money to pay their legal fees. The board also recently announced that it was ending Disney’s diversity, inclusion, and equality program, under the governor’s urging.

In its motion, the board said that DeSantis is largely supported by the people of Florida. That is not exactly true. Multiple polls have been conducted and DeSantis remains popular amongst Republicans, but has tanked in his approval ratings with Democrats. Disney’s popularity has gone down with Republicans, but has gone up with Democrats. Overall, the state is nearly evenly split in its support.

You can read the board’s full statement to the court here.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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