Disney versus DeSantis

Former Governors and Lawmakers Say Governor DeSantis’ Disney Retaliation Hurts Florida

A collection of former governors, lawmakers, and even White House officials have come together against Governor DeSantis’ retaliation against Disney. The group of mostly Republican former officials said that DeSantis’ actions are like the autocratic actions of the governments of both Russia and China. They also said that the Governor’s decision to take over the former Reedy Creek Improvement District “severely damaging to the political, social, and economic fabric of the State.” It is the most recent development in this ongoing feud between Disney and Governor DeSantis.

A “friend of the court” brief was submitted last week to support Disney’s lawsuit against the Governor and other Florida officials. The former governors, U.S. House members and presidential administration officials stated that their goal was to demonstrate “how the path the Governor has chosen is corrosive to the form of democracy envisioned by the Constitution, and to re-emphasize this Court’s critical constitutional role in curbing the excesses of governance by retaliation,” the filing said.

Disney’s Lake Nona Campus Concept Art

The group specifically pointed out that the actions of DeSantis harms Florida economically as firms are dissuaded from doing business in Florida. This is because they could then still be subject to Governor DeSantis’ reatliatory whims if they were to ever speak out against his policies. The group of leaders noted that Disney had already cancelled its planned $1 billion campus in Lake Nona. This would have brought 2,000 employees from California. Its cancellation came after a year of feuding with Governor DeSantis, with no shortage of attacks from the Governor.

“The fact that Governor DeSantis has taken these anti-democratic actions so blatantly and brazenly — that he is proud of them — only makes them all the more damaging to the political and social fabric of Florida and the country as a whole,” the group said. The group is made up of two former GOP governors, Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey and Arne Carlson of Minnesota; three former Republican U.S. House members, Tom Coleman of Missouri, Claudine Schneider of Rhode Island and Christopher Shays of Connecticut; and a host of attorneys, commissioners, chiefs of staff and other officials from previous Democratic and Republican presidential administrations. The group compared the actions of DeSantis with Disney to the autocratic actions in China and Russia with his goal of retaliating against Disney so the company and others would not oppose him and his policies in the future.

This is not the first brief that has been filed in support of Disney’s lawsuit against Governor DeSantis. A group of journalists also voiced their support to the court.

On the other side of this case, Governor DeSantis is seeking the dismissal of the lawsuit. This is a move that Disney strongly opposes. It all comes from a feud between Governor DeSantis and Disney that began after Disney came out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This led to Governor DeSantis coming out against “woke Disney” and making statements like “there’s a new sheriff in town” as he sought ways to punish Disney for its stance. Ultimately, this led to the dissolution of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. It was then replaced by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District with board members that were hand picked by the Governor.

The Governor also has sought ways to punish Disney and mused about multiple different ways that this could be done. He also pushed through a law that provided additional oversight over only Walt Disney World’s monorail system.

As things move forward, it appears that the resolution for this feud will be determined in federal court. Daps Magic will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they become available.