Disney Responds to DeSantis’ Lawsuit Dismissal Motion and Use of “Weaponized Bureaucracy”

Disney opposes DeSantis Dismissal

On April 26, in an unprecedented move, Disney World officially filed a lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The lawsuit was the culmination of more than a year of back and forth between the popular company and the governor. The relationship between the two had always been decent, but that changed when ex-Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s controversial Parental Rights in Education bill. That one decision caused DeSantis to launch an all-out war against Disney. One that culminated in a very public lawsuit and Disney accusing DeSantis of retaliation.

Bob Chapek Disney Integration

Credit: Disney

It has been three months since Disney filed the lawsuit, and, on June 26, the governor requested that a judge dismiss it. DeSantis’ legal team has claimed that the governor has “legislative immunity”, so Disney can’t sue him. Per the schedule set forth by the judge, Disney had one month to respond to the governor’s dismissal request. Well, Disney has responded, saying that they oppose the dismissal of the suit.

Disney/DeSantis feud hurting local businesses

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Per Disney’s legal filing:

“The Governor seeks to evade responsibility for his actions on a narrower ground, asserting that a governor cannot be held officially liable for implementing, administering, and enforcing state laws that punish residents for political statements violating a state-prescribed speech code,” the company added with personal emphasis on the notoriously thin skinned DeSantis. “The motion seeks dismissal on Article III standing, sovereign-immunity, and legislative-immunity grounds, but those principles have no application here…

Few Florida businesses are subject, as Disney now is, to governance by a special district with a Governor-controlled Board that closely regulates the use of private property with no accountability to local property owners and taxpayers… In any event, what matters here is that the challenged laws indisputably eliminate Disney’s rights and impose new burdens, thereby creating an injury-in-fact.”

DeSantis more popular in Florida than Disney

Credit: Flickr, Gage Skidmore

Since Chapek spoke out about the Parental Rights bill — also called the Don’t Say Gay bill — Governor DeSantis and the Republican Florida lawmakers have repeatedly attacked the company. Disney has been stripped of its right to self-govern with the dissolution of Reedy Creek. It is now overseen by a board that has been hand-picked by DeSantis. None of the board members have any experience working with theme parks.

On top of that, the state has put the Walt Disney World monorail under state inspection control. Per Florida law, theme parks with more than 1,000 employees are allowed to have their own inspectors that must follow state-set guidelines. The new law that gave the state control of the monorail only applies to Disney World, even though there are other theme parks — Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando — right down the road.


Credit: Disney

Since it filed the lawsuit in April, Disney has amended it to include speeches that the governor has made and even passages from his new book. Governor DeSantis has repeatedly admitted out loud that he never thought about going after Disney until after the company spoke out against the Parental Rights bill. DeSantis was one of the main supporters of the bill. Disney CEO Bob Iger has said that DeSantis’ actions are “plainly a matter of retaliation.”

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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