Judge Allen Cothrel Winsor of the Northern District of Florida has set a December 12th hearing date for the Walt Disney Parks vs DeSantis case. The hearing is for a Motion to Dismiss that was filed on September 28th by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors.
This is the federal-level lawsuit that was brought by Disney against DeSantis and others where Disney alleges that its First Amendment rights have been chilled by DeSantis’ actions against the Company. In comments made earlier this month, DeSantis essentially confirms that his actions against Disney were retaliatory. As you may remember, Disney came out in opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” piece of legislation before it became law last summer. DeSantis didn’t like Disney’s stance and even told then-CEO Bob Chapek “You shouldn’t get involved; it’s not going to work out well for you”.
Then, DeSantis worked with his rubber stamp legislature to craft a bill to dismantle the Reedy Creek Improvement District. With blinders on, the legislature created a bill that would’ve passed $1 billion worth of bonds onto Orange County and Osceola County taxpayers. In the end, DeSantis and his legislature decided that a bill allowing DeSantis to hand-pick the Board of Supervisors for the soon-to-be-renamed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District would suffice.
Once DeSantis had installed the Board, he came down to Walt Disney World to announce that he was considering building a state prison on land owned by the District on Walt Disney World property or even allowing the construction of a competing theme park on Disney World property. Nothing seemed to be off the table with regard to what DeSantis would do to punish Disney for speaking out against him.
Now, Judge Winsor will hear from DeSantis’ lawyers and Disney lawyers in mid-December to see if Disney’s case should be tossed out. A number of organizations have filed documents in support of Disney. Disney has even said that if DeSantis is able to use the might of government to retaliate against one of the largest businesses in the state for their disfavored speech, it could happen to anyone.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!