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Ron DeSantis-backed board votes to countersue Disney

The feud between Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney continues to escalate
The feud between Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney continues to escalate Copyright Getty Images - Disney
Copyright Getty Images - Disney
By David Mouriquand
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The feud between Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney continues, after The House of Mouse filed a suit against DeSantis last week.

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The escalating feud between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney has taken yet another turn, as a board appointed by DeSantis - which oversees Disney's special district - has voted to sue the entertainment giant.

This news comes just a week after Disney filed a suit against DeSantis over the Republican's takeover of its theme park district, alleging the governor waged a "targeted campaign of government retaliation" after the company opposed a law critics call “Don't Say Gay.”

US media reported that the board stated it had to respond to Disney's lawsuit.

"Disney sued us, we have no choice now but to respond,” said board chairman Martin Garcia. “We'll seek justice in our own backyard."

DeSantis has pledged to take on and win "every single issue involving Disney".

Disney previously stated with regards to its lawsuit that it "regrets that it has come to this," but that the company was left no choice but to “file this lawsuit to protect its cast members, guests, and local development partners from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.”

AP Photo
Florida Governor Ron DeSantisAP Photo

The drawn-out feud between the Florida Governor, who is expected to become a top Republican contender in the 2024 presidential race, and Disney began when the House of Mouse came out against a Florida bill limiting classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity, a policy critics call “Don’t Say Gay.” 

This elevated the profile of DeSantis, with the governor and his allies targeting the special tax district that has allowed Disney to essentially self-govern its Florida operations since the 1960s.

Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that any actions against the company that threaten jobs or expansion at its Florida resort was not only “anti-business” but “anti-Florida.”

Its lawsuit against DeSantis asked a federal judge to void the governor's takeover of the theme park district, as well as the DeSantis oversight board's actions, on the grounds that they were violations of company's free speech rights.

“A targeted campaign of government retaliation - orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech - now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights," last week’s lawsuit said.

Ahead of his expected entry in the 2024 Republican presidential primary campaign, DeSantis has signed a six-week abortion ban on top his ongoing feud with Disney. However, according to POLITICO, his efforts have not paid off in polling numbers, as the Florida Governor – nicknamed ‘DeSanctimonious’ by former President Donald Trump – is falling further behind Trump, seen as the current front-runner.

A recent Fox News poll shows him at 21% - a slide from his 28% in the Us media channel’s February poll. He now reportedly trails the former president by 32 points.

Additional sources • POLITICO

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