Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has called on Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger to withdraw the company’s ongoing lawsuit against him and other Florida officials.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC’s “Last Call,” DeSantis confidently asserted that Disney would not succeed in its lawsuit against the state of Florida and advised Iger to “drop the lawsuit.”
The lawsuit, which Disney filed in federal court in April, alleges that DeSantis, who is also a 2024 presidential candidate, engaged in retaliatory actions against the entertainment giant due to its strong opposition to the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.
This law restricts the teaching of gender identity and sexual identity in specific grade levels. Disney had openly pledged its support for the repeal of the anti-LGBTQ bill.
Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek had apologized for the company’s initial silence regarding the bill amid criticism.
Earlier this year, DeSantis enacted legislation that curtailed Disney’s authority over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a 25,000-acre area that the company had self-governed for decades.
The law established a five-member governing board for the district, leading to the nullification of previous agreements made by Disney.
DeSantis emphasized the principle of equal treatment for all businesses and criticized the bestowing of special privileges upon a single company at the exclusion of others.
DeSantis Urges Disney to Rethink Lawsuit Amid Business Climate
He encouraged Disney to reconsider its legal actions, highlighting the state’s positive business environment and citing competitors like Universal and SeaWorld, which operate without the same privileges granted to Disney.
Disney’s lawsuit claims that DeSantis conducted a “targeted campaign of government retaliation,” asserting that it was “orchestrated at every step” as a form of punishment for Disney’s “protected speech.”
While acknowledging a history of cooperation, DeSantis suggested that Disney should focus on its core strengths.
He remarked that he believes ending the lawsuit would be the right business decision, asserting that the state has largely moved on from the dispute.
DeSantis showcased Florida as an excellent place for business, pointing to the state’s low unemployment rate, sound fiscal standing, and leadership in fostering new business ventures.
Referring to Disney’s competitors, DeSantis noted that Universal and SeaWorld, despite their success in the state, have not enjoyed the same special privileges as Disney.
In his presidential campaign, DeSantis has targeted “woke” culture and accused Disney of sexualizing children. Iger, however, dismissed these allegations as “preposterous” and “inaccurate” in a recent interview with CNBC.
In June, DeSantis sought to dismiss the lawsuit by arguing that he and the secretary of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity are “immune” from litigation.
The full interview with Governor DeSantis is scheduled to air on CNBC at 7 p.m. on Monday.
Source: The Hill