Disney Drops Massive Counter Punch Against DeSantis: Will the Florida Gov Drop the Feud?
The Disney Corp. is attempting to blame Ron DeSantis, and not its own woke policies, for its massive layoffs and box office bombs, as the Florida governor continues to stand up to the company. And this month the company has fired yet another salvo in the fight to keep its special self-governing status.
The ultra-woke Disney has launched a lawsuit in federal court against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis alleging that he engaged in a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” after the company launched a full court press attempt to roll back the state’s education bill that prevents children under ten from being subjected to the radical, LGBT, groomer agenda in the state’s schools, according to NBC News.
The political fight started in 2022 when then-Disney CEO Bob Chapek (who has since been replaced by Bob Iger) attacked Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act (HB 1557) and announced that the Disney corporation would mount a concerted effort to stop the bill — and after that effort was lost and the bill was signed into law, to have it repealed.
Since that overtly, and loudly proclaimed political act by the company, the Florida legislature has been slowly cutting back on the special tax breaks Disney has enjoyed, as well as its self-governing status that has been in place for more than 50 years.
Now, Disney is suing, claiming that it has been specially and unfairly targeted by DeSantis and the Sunshine State’s Republicans.
“Disney regrets that it has come to this,” the company said in the lawsuit, CBS noted. “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 weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.”
But Alan Lawson, a former Florida Supreme Court justice and the man hired by DeSantis to review Disney’s status, noted that “Disney was openly and legally granted a unique and special privilege, that privilege of running its own local government. That era is ending.”
DeSantis’ office countered Disney’s attack by noting that no mere company has a right to achieve self-governing status and that Disney should expect to be placed under the same obligations, rules and regulations as any other company.
“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. This lawsuit is yet another unfortunate example of their hope to undermine the will of the Florida voters and operate outside the bounds of the law,” a representative for DeSantis told NBC.
The lawsuit is not the only move Disney made to protect its special set asides. After the legislature ended the self-governing status and appointed a board to oversee the park, Disney made a special deal with the Reedy Creek board that nullified the new board’s power.
However, Disney’s side deal was declared invalid as its attempt to neuter the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District was ruled unlawful, WESH reported.
Disney has not done itself any favors with this desperate political attack on a duly elected state legislature and its attempt to safeguard children. According to the New York Post, DeSantis’s poll numbers in Florida went up as he stepped up to face Disney’s arrogance.
Even many Florida Democrats supported DeSantis’ stance on the education law. In April of last year, polls found that a majority of Florida’s Democratic voters were in favor of the legislation to keep radical sexuality out of grade schools.
Besides that, DeSantis is fully invested in the fight against Disney, and it appears unlikely that he could back off without suffering political damage of his own. His fight against wokeness has made him a national figure, and this soon before the 2024 presidential cycle, he can’t back off now — even if he doesn’t announce a bid for the White House.
Indeed, DeSantis upped the rhetoric ante by joking that if Disney doesn’t dial it back, he’ll sanction the building of a new state penitentiary next to the corporations Orlando-based Disney World Resort.
Disney is faring just as badly at the box office after two films it hoped would be big flopped at the box office last year.
Disney’s “Strange World” was the biggest flop of 2022, losing more than $152 million for the film the Mouse House expected to be a huge animated blockbuster, The Direct reported. That wasn’t the entertainment giant’s only big bomb last year, either. Disney also lost an estimated $106 million on its “Toy Story” expansion, “Lightyear.” Both films prominently pushed the LGBT agenda at their adolescent audiences.
On top of all that, Disney lost a net 2.4 million subscribers for its Disney+ streaming service, too, Variety reported in February.
Meanwhile, its theme parks were the only arm that continued making money through 2022 with revenue rising to $5.4 billion, up two billion from the previous year, The Motley Fool noted in May.
The financials also reportedly led to Disney’s several rounds of layoffs all across the company and its various subsidiaries, including ESPN and many of its film production houses. The company announced in March that upwards to 7,000 jobs would be culled.
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