DeSantis Vows to Protect Free Speech as Disney Sues Him for Violating Theirs

in Walt Disney World

Ron DeSantis speaking frantically, Mickey Mouse looks angry, text reading "hypocrite?" all in front of big thunder mountain at Walt Disney World Resort.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his 2024 Presidential campaign during a Twitter Space on Wednesday. After fixing nearly half an hour of technical issues, he praised cohost Elon Musk for being a “free speech advocate” and promised the same if elected President of the United States.

“I think free speech in this country was on its way out the door,” DeSantis said. He later boasted victory over The Walt Disney Company in the year-long battle between the two.

“We did, as you say, win on the issue,” DeSantis argued. “But, what happened was Disney’s posturing, some of the other statements that their executives were making, kind of the corporate culture, had really been outed as trying to inject matters of sex into the programming for the youth.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis giving a speech
Credit: ABC News

DeSantis failed to acknowledge the hypocrisy of the two statements. The Walt Disney Company’s lawsuit against the state of Florida directly accuses DeSantis of retaliation for the corporation’s protected speech. Lawyers have updated it multiple times in the last month as DeSantis ramped up his campaign against Walt Disney World Resort, promising more taxes, tolls, and regulations.

The Republican Governor argued that the Reedy Creek Improvement Act had overstayed its welcome in the state, regardless of former Disney CEO’s public condemnation of the Parental Rights In Education Act (colloquially known as “Don’t Say Gay”). But as Disney has publicly noted, he refuses to nullify thousands of other special district agreements in Florida.

Ron DeSantis in a 'Top Gun' inspired jacket, standing in front of an American flag. Text reads, "Never back down from a fight."

“This is not about special privileges or a level playing field or Disney, in any way, using its leverage around the state of Florida,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a shareholder call earlier this month. Like DeSantis, he outlined the importance of the First Amendment right to protected speech.

“This is about one thing and one thing only,” Iger argued. “That’s retaliating against us for taking a position about pending legislation. And we believe that in us taking that position, we were merely exercising our right to free speech.”

Follow alongside Inside the Magic as we provide live updates on the battle between Gov. DeSantis and Disney. Share your thoughts with us in the comments! 

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