Disney and DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Urges Disney to Drop Lawsuit

He has fought Disney in the courts, in the state legislature, at the local district, and now in the media. Governor Ron DeSantis continued his feud with The Walt Disney Company in an interview with CNBC. In this interview, he urged Disney’s CEO Bob Iger to drop the lawsuit that the company has against him. The lawsuit that was brought against the Governor, and other Florida leaders, accuses him of political retaliation and the weaponization of government in violation of Disney’s First Ammendment rights.

Governor Ron DeSantis has a different view on the matter, however. During an interview with CNBC’s Last Call, DeSantis pushed Iger to drop the lawsuit saying, “They’re suing the state of Florida. They’re going to lose that lawsuit.”

When asked what he would say to Disney CEO Bob Iger if he were to talk on the phone with him today, Governor DeSantis replied, “So what I would say is, drop the lawsuit.”  

“This is a great place to do business,” DeSantis continued as he cited CNBC’s latest national survey which cited Florida as a top state economy. The state ranked eighth overall in CNBC’s ranking of America’s Top States for Business in 2023.

“Your competitors all do very well here, Universal, SeaWorld. They have not had the same special privileges as you have,” DeSantis said he would say to Iger.

“So all we want to do is treat everybody the same, and let’s move forward. I’m totally fine with that. But I’m not fine with giving extraordinary privileges, you know, to one special company at the exclusion of everybody else,” he said.

After initially lashing out at Disney for coming out against legislation Governor DeSantis signed into law, the Governor has recently changed his approach to make the feud about self governing in the district where the Walt Disney World Resort resides. Formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, DeSantis and the Florida legislature dissolved the district after the feud with Disney began. This was followed by threats of what would be done with it in its new form. The new district, known as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, has a board of directors that are chosen by the governor.

Disney and the former Reedy Creek Improvement District signed a development agreement that would insure a path forward for the district and Disney for several decades moving forward. This was discovered by the new leadership after the transition happened. Governor DeSantis and the Florida legislature signed a law into place to empower the new district to nullify the development agreement. This ultimately led to Disney sueing the parties that were a part of this.

In the lawsuit Disney alleges that DeSantis “orchestrated at every step” a campaign of government retaliation “as punishment for Disney’s protected speech.” Governor DeSantis recently requested that a judge dismiss this lawsuit, as has the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. However, in the interview on Monday, Governor DeSantis said that he had “basically moved on” from the feud.

“I would just say, go back to what you did well. I think it’s going to be the right business decision, and all that,” he said. At this point, things may not be as simple as just going back, no matter how much Governor DeSantis may wish that would happen. Governor DeSantis has regularly used Disney as an example of a “woke” company that needs to be battled. He has also accused Disney of sexualizing children.

Bob Iger, for his part, has told CNBC that the Governor’s claims are  “preposterous and inaccurate.”

Ultimately it appears that the solution for this feud will be decided by a judge in a federal court. At this point, Disney is requesting that a trial take place next Summer. Daps Magic will continue to pursue this story and provide updates as they become available.