Disney files First Amendment suit against DeSantis 

“Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it.” -Mrs. Incredible, “The Incredibles”

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Mickey Mouse
Gov. Ron DeSantis and Mickey Mouse (Getty)

Disney is out to prove to Ron DeSantis that this mouse has sharp teeth.

The media and entertainment giant filed a lawsuit in federal court against Florida’s governor and the board that oversees the development of Walt Disney World theme parks, claiming the company is being denied its First Amendment rights, the New York Times reported.

“In America, the government cannot punish you for speaking your mind,” Disney said in the complaint, the Times reported.

Further, the lawsuit says DeSantis has “weaponized” the government against Disney in “retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint.”

A spokeswoman for DeSantis said Disney’s suit doesn’t have merit.

“We are unaware of any legal right that a company has to operate its own government or maintain special privileges not held by other businesses in the state,” she told the Times.

The Times noted that, until recently, you’d have a better chance of having Disney change its logo to Bugs Bunny before Florida and the company engage in such a fierce fight.

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It’s the latest salvo in an ongoing feud between Gov. Ron DeSantis and Disney dating back to when Disney took a stand against the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law that restricts the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.

That drew DeSantis’ ire, and he began publicly berating Disney. Recently he floated the idea of building a prison next to the Orlando theme park. 

He wasn’t done. At his urging, the state legislature during a special session in February gave DeSantis the power to appoint members of the board that oversees the development of Walt Disney World theme parks. 

Before that law was enacted, Disney quietly maneuvered to keep control of its Florida theme parks for at least another 30 years.

The current board, composed of DeSantis appointees, said last week that the agreements for Disney’s future multibillion-dollar expansion in Orlando are “void” and “unenforceable,” NBC News reported.  

Disney is the state’s largest employer and also a cash cow for Florida, with the company raking in $1.2 billion in local and state taxes last year, according to public disclosures.

— Ted Glanzer

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