Judge Confirms Disney Is Right, DeSantis Was Wrong

in Disney

Disney World Castle and Ron DeSantis

Credit: Inside the Magic

According to a state judge, the Walt Disney Company did not do anything wrong by public opposing Ron DeSantis’ so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which doesn’t spell good things for the Florida governor.

The feud between Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney finally spilled over into lawsuits earlier this year after months of attacks in the media from both sides.

ron desantis disney
Credit: Wikimedia

“Don’t Say Gay”

Although Walt Disney World is Central Florida’s single largest employer and a hugely critical cog in its economy, the theme park became a hotbed of controversy in American culture after former CEO Bob Chapek publically came out against the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act (HB 1557), the bill often referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

After Disney publically spoke out in opposition to the bill, Governor DeSantis went on the attack against the company, accusing it of everything from pushing “radical leftist politics” to sexualizing children. Ironically, Chapek’s statement was largely perceived as being somewhat lukewarm in its protest and only given after months of pressure from LGBTQIA+ groups and activists.

Bob Chapek Named in new Lawsuit against Disney Company. Bob Chapek on the right and Disney World Picture with Disney logo on the left
Bob Chapek
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: DeSantis Looks to Crush Disney World, Uses ‘Strong Language’ Against New Warrants

Disney, DeSantis, and Reedy Creek

Still, it kicked off a firestorm of events that eventually led to a case in both Federal and state court.

Governor DeSantis dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the special tax district that allowed Disney World to essentially operate as a self-governing entity within Florida. It was replaced by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and a board handpicked by DeSantis, which immediately began a series of controversial actions, including canceling Disney-related perks for employees.

Reedy Creek on the left and Governor Ron DeSantis on the right
Credit: Inside the Magic

In response, Disney filed a lawsuit against DeSantis in Florida state court, alleging that the governor had used his political power to retaliate against the company for its public stance on “Don’t Say Gay.” Specifically, the House of Mouse called this an attack on its First Amendment rights to free speech without government censure or reprisal.

Judge Lori W. Will

The state court case of Disney v. DeSantis has still not been decided, but Delaware Judge Lori W. Will has stated that the company did nothing wrong by responding to the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act and, more so, had every right to do so (per Bloomberg Law).

In remarks at a Northwestern University conference this week, Judge Will stated, “It’s perfectly within [Disney’s] business judgment to step back and say, ‘Our employees are upset. Our creative partners are upset. This is going to harm us, and so we need to take a stance on this bill.'”

Ron DeSantis holds his hand over his head in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.
Credit: Inside the Magic

This is particularly significant because Judge Will ruled on the recent related lawsuit Simeone v. Walt Disney Co., in which the plaintiff tried to gain access to company financial documents, asserting that Disney may have committed financial harm to investors by opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Judge Will ruled against the plaintiff, who did not file for an appeal. Essentially, her statements confirm that legal opinions are increasingly against DeSantis in the pending case.

Related: “They Started It!” DeSantis Blames Disney for Instigating Feud

Disney v. DeSantis

The House of Mouse has been winning significant legal gains over Governor DeSantis in its First Amendment state court lawsuit, and related cases like these coming down firmly on the side of Disney are extremely telling.

Things are definitely not going well for the governor.

What do you think, is Disney right and DeSantis wrong? Should a corporation be making political statements, even if you don’t like them? Tell us your opinions in the comments below!

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