OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 11:45 AM – Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Disney filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over his alleged “takeover” of the state’s theme park district. Disney claimed that DeSantis engaged in a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” because the company objected to a law referred to as “Don’t Say Gay” by its critics.
However, the phrase “don’t say gay” is deceptive to what the legislation actually entails, since it revolves around the elimination of federal funding for materials and lessons to educate kindergarten through third-grade students about sexual behavior, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender dysphoria, and transgenderism.
Besides DeSantis (R-Fla.), many other U.S. GOP representatives have expressed support for the bill.
“This common-sense bill is straightforward. No federal tax dollars should go to any federal, state, or local government agencies, or private organizations that intentionally expose children under 10 years of age to sexually explicit material,” said Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.).
Critics of the bill claim that “it’s concerning and a transparent political attempt at erasing LGBTQ+ identities.”
DeSantis, who frequently refers to Disney’s new company principles as “woke,” is being accused of running a campaign to target Disney for its political viewpoints. According to Disney, DeSantis “orchestrated at every step'” of this campaign, which is now endangering the company’s operations.
Minutes after a DeSantis-appointed Disney World oversight board voted to invalidate a contract that gave the business control over theme park design and construction, the lawsuit was filed in Tallahassee, Florida.
The governor, who is expected to run for president, and Disney, a significant corporate force and Florida’s leading source of tourism, have been engaged in a long-running battle.
However, business leaders and the governor’s competitors for the White House have consistently criticized DeSantis’ battle with Disney, viewing it as an unprecedented repudiation of conservative principles of limited government.
The conflict started last year when Disney openly challenged state legislation that inhibited teachers from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity to young students.
DeSantis retaliated by taking control of Disney World’s self-governing district and forming a new board of supervisors to manage governmental services at the theme parks.
However, the business pushed through a last-minute arrangement that significantly reduced the new supervisors’ power before the new board took over.
The DeSantis board declared on Wednesday that Disney’s action to maintain control over their property was in fact illegal and carried out without the required amount of public notice.
“Disney picked the fight with this board. We were not looking out for a fight… Bottom line, what our lawyers have told us, is factually and legally what they created is an absolute legal mess. It will not work,” said Martin Garcia, chair of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
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