Disney narrowed its federal lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to focus solely on its First Amendment claim that the lawmaker politically retaliated against the Mouse House.
“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,” the lawsuit said.
Last week, Disney dropped its other claims in the case, which centered on Disney World’s development contracts. Those contract claims are still being pursued in a separate state lawsuit in Florida.
“We will continue to fight vigorously to defend these contracts, because these agreements will determine whether or not Disney can invest billions of dollars and generate thousands of new jobs in Florida,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement.
The grudge match between Disney and DeSantis started last year when the media giant, led by then-CEO Bob Chapek, opposed the DeSantis-backed Parental Rights in Education Act — the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill — which sought to eliminate discussions of sexuality or gender identity in some K-12 classrooms.
The legislation was eventually passed by the state legislature and signed into law by DeSantis, who went on to revoke Disney’s long-held special tax district in Florida, spurring two lawsuits from the media giant.
In August, DeSantis told CNBC he had “moved on” from his fight with Disney, saying the House of Mouse should “drop the lawsuit” it filed claiming a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” by his administration, which he has denied.