REPORT: Disney Suffers Devastating Defeat In Court

Disney couldn’t muster enough magic in its kingdom to stop a Florida state board’s takeover of the company’s autonomy, a sign that it now believes a settlement with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the only solution.

The Daily Mail reports that an eleventh-hour settlement between Walt Disney Co. and the Florida State Tourism Board has been reached in regards to the Reedy Creek Improvement Project, a designation that for decades has allowed the Florida-based corporation to largely regulate itself. In February 2023, Gov. DeSantis at the height of his culture war with Disney signed into law a new tourism oversight district to supersede Reedy Creek.

The agreement ends lawsuits filed by Disney against the state of Florida, part of a larger bid to maintain favorable tax breaks and positions of power in state government that essentially acknowledged it was too big to regulate. That all changed after former Disney CEO Bob Chapek began criticizing DeSantis’ focus on culture war issues like his signature law banning the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation for minors, dubbed by critics as the “don’t say gay law.”

“No corporation should be its own government,” DeSantis’ Communications Director Bryan Griffin said in a statement on Wednesday’s development. “Moving forward, we stand ready to work with Disney and the District to help promote economic growth, family-friendly tourism, and accountable government in Central Florida.”


Furthermore, the retreat by Disney signals that the company has realized its defense of the special treatment is “null and void” and has “no legal effect or enforceability.”

“We are glad that Disney has dropped its lawsuits against the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and conceded that their last-minute development agreements are null, void, and unenforceable,” Griffin said.

In January, a Trump-appointed judge tossed out a lawsuit brought by Disney alleging Gov. DeSantis’ actions were retaliatory and in violation of the company’s First Amendment rights, according to POLITICO. Disney was singing a different tune back then, claiming the fight for a “fair” business environment would continue.

“This is an important case with serious implications for the rule of law, and it will not end here,” the company stated at the time. “If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give license to states to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints they disagree with. We are determined to press forward with our case.”

A spokesperson for Gov. DeSantis shot back that it’s time for Disney to stop expecting special treatment.

“The days of Disney controlling its own government and being placed above the law are long gone,” Desantis spokesperson Jeremy Redfern said. “Disney is still just one of many corporations in the state, and they do not have a right to their own special government.”


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