“There will be no compromise,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said of the legal battle with Disney during his presidential campaign launch address in Iowa today.
We administer the state of Florida. They don’t run the state of Florida. We stand up for the protection of our children. We will fight those who seek to steal your innocence and there will be no compromise.
This is the latest escalation in an ongoing dispute between The Walt Disney Company and the Governor, which began as a mutually strained relationship and has now escalated into an all-out legal battle at both the state and federal levels.
While most of the speech emphasized his new campaign for the 2024 presidential election and overall goals, DeSantis made it clear that he rejects criticism from some fellow Republicans who believe this particular dispute is a nonessential liability that needs to be reduced.
Leadership is not about entertaining. . . . It’s about results.
demand on hold
In the most recent filing of the ongoing lawsuit between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Court ruled that no actions related to the case or other recent filings will be addressed or acted upon until DeSantis’ pending motion to disqualify is resolved. Judge Mark Walker.
This Notice acknowledges receipt of the ‘Joint Stipulation Relating to
Briefing Schedule and Service of Process’, ECF No. 34, in which Defendants
request (and Claimants do not object) a proposed news program for the next
motions to dismiss. This Court will not take any action, programming or otherwise, in this
case pending ruling on the pending motion for recusal.
Yesterday, the defendants (DeSantis and CFTOD leaders) stated their intent to seek dismissal of the entire case, mutually agreeing with Disney on dates and timelines for this process.
All Defendants intend to file motions to dismiss the amended complaint.
Defendants request, and Plaintiff does not object, that the Court set the
following information schedule for motions to dismiss:
• Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss: Due 06/26/23
• Plaintiff’s Answers: Due 7/26/23
• Defendants’ Answers: Due 8/9/23
Under this order, everything is on hold until a decision is made to retain or replace the current judge. A different arbitrator, Martin Fitzpatrick, already recused himself of his own free will late last month, citing a “third degree” relationship with someone employed by one of the parties.
According to Reuters, Governor DeSantis wants Mark Walker out of the case because he questions the judge’s impartiality.
DeSantis’ lawyers argued Friday that the judge overseeing that case demonstrated potential bias by handling separate cases in which the judge cited Disney as an example of state retaliation.
Outside of this federal proceeding, the defendants are also suing Disney in Florida courts. Disney has already sought to have that case dismissed. The Board’s 188-page complaint names the Board itself as a plaintiff against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. District leaders appointed by the Governor are asking the court to declare unenforceable, null and void Disney’s development agreement with the former Reedy Creek Improvement District. They also ask that the same be done with the restrictive pacts, which in particular set the reference point for expiration at 21 years after the death of the last living descendant of King Carlos III, who is still alive at the date of the document.
A history of the feud between Disney and DeSantis
The Governor of Florida and the Walt Disney Company initially clashed over the corporation’s opposition to a hotly debated and controversial Florida law regarding classroom instruction and discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. , along with several other recent state laws and similar proposals.
Bob Chapek was CEO at the time and initially remained silent and passive on the issue, until massive internal criticism from cast members, the LGBTQ+ community, and controversy over Disney’s practice of making significant political contributions to campaigns and people allegedly against their own asserted humane principles came into focus.
In an apparent act of retribution for Chapek’s expression of dissent, the governor followed through with several verbal and legal attacks on Disney, including the dissolution of Reedy Creek and the eventual transfer of power directly under his control. DeSantis argues that he is attacking a rather vague perception of what he calls “wake up politics,” the invasion of the state. Furthermore, he claims that his goal is to put the people of Florida first through his actions:
Disney has gotten away with special offers from the state of Florida for far too long. She took a look under the hood to see what Disney has become to really understand his inappropriate influence.
After heated exchanges and dramatic actions taken by the Governor allegedly as intentionally damaging retaliation, The Walt Disney Company sued the Governor and his newly selected board shortly after Bob Iger’s return as CEO, citing a “targeted campaign of government retaliation, orchestrated at every turn by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech.” The plaintiff argues that this timeline of events “threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.”
The Walt Disney Company is suing for “injunctive and declaratory relief.” The injunction forces a party to act in a certain way or prevents them from doing several things. An “injunction” is sometimes called a restraining order.
Disney regrets that it has come to this, but having exhausted efforts to seek a resolution, the Company is left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect its cast members, guests and local development partners from a relentless campaign to turn the power of government into a weapon. against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain state officials.
DeSantis insists he will double down on efforts to punish the resort through methods both in the Legislature and on the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board. In particular, he promised to increase hotel taxes and institute road tolls around Walt Disney World Resort property and floated the idea of building a prison on land directly next to the Disney property. Additionally, a bill was passed requiring state inspections of the complex’s monorails.
There’s a lot of little back and forth now with the state taking over, but rest assured, you haven’t seen anything yet. There is more to come in that regard.
A recent poll showed that most Americans are divided on whether Disney and Governor DeSantis have behaved “appropriately” or not, but believe the court should rule in Disney’s favor.
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