DeSantis slams Disney as legal feud escalates: ‘Pound sand’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday dismissed a lawsuit against him filed by the Walt Disney Company, and said he would continue to try to rein in Disney’s power in Florida by taking back control over the land used by Disney World resort.
“Sometimes you just need an executive to come in and tell them to pound sand,” DeSantis said in an interview with The American Conservative.
Disney sued DeSantis after he signed a bill in May that revoked the corporation’s development agreements over its resorts in the state. The actions against Disney are aimed at ending the company’s decades-old protected status in the state.
“It is corporate welfare,” DeSantis said. “We are under no obligation as a state to continue that arrangement.”
Disney’s lawsuit claimed DeSantis’ actions are a part of a “retribution campaign” after the company announced its opposition to an education bill signed by the governor in 2022 that prohibits discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom until after the third grade. Disney condemned the bill once it became law.
“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that,” the company said in a statement.
Disney claims in the lawsuit that the actions against them from DeSantis and his allies in the state legislature are a violation of its free speech rights as a company.
DeSantis, in his interview with The American Conservative, said Republicans in the statehouse were simply focused on ending the privileged status of Disney in his state, which he described as “untenable,” “unjustifiable” and “really, really obnoxious.”
“I mean, the idea you have a First Amendment right to corporate welfare or having a local government that you basically control with no accountability is ridiculous,” DeSantis said. “They didn’t do anything to touch Disney’s free speech rights. Did they pull ABC’s broadcast license? Did they say Disney can’t speak out about anything? Of course not. They took a government that had been authorized by the state of Florida that, yes, had been basically corrupted by Disney’s influence and run by Disney, and they put accountability on it.”