Disney is suing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after the state revoked its autonomy amid controversy over the company’s political activities.
On Wednesday (April 26), Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, alleging that DeSantis was waging a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” against the company, violating its free speech rights.
The lawsuit comes after a board appointed by DeSantis to govern the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District — where Walt Disney World resort is located — decided to cancel two development agreements signed by Disney in February.
Disney, one of Florida’s largest employers, claimed the canceled contracts would be “the foundation for billions of… investment dollars and thousands of jobs.”
The complaint declares that the “government action was patently retaliatory… anti-business, and… unconstitutional.”
The complaint continues, arguing that DeSantis and his allies have emphasized that they “do not care and will not stop.”
However, in response to the complaint, Taryn Fenske, director of communications for DeSantis, disputed Disney’s claims, suggesting the Governor’s Office wasn’t aware of any legal right that requires a corporation to “operate its own government” or retain special rights that other corporations in the state do not have.
Fenske added that the lawsuit was “yet another unfortunate example” of how Disney hopes “to undermine the will of Florida voters and operate outside the bounds of the law.”