Apr 27, 2023 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis balks at Disney lawsuit alleging retaliation

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at the Museum of Tolerance on April 27 in Jerusalem, Israel. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) fired back at Disney on Thursday over its lawsuit alleging that his administration's actions amount to a "targeted campaign" of government retaliation.

Why it matters: DeSantis' feud with Disney has invited criticism from some of his fellow Republicans and potential opponents for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, including former President Trump.

Driving the news: "I don't think the suit has merit. I think it's political," DeSantis said of the lawsuit during a press conference in Jerusalem.

  • "I think they filed in Tallahassee for a reason, because they're trying to generate some district court decision," DeSantis said. "But we're very confident on the law."

Catch up quick: The back and forth between DeSantis and Disney was reignited earlier this year, after the company publicly denounced Florida's Parental Rights in Education law in early 2022. Critics have dubbed it DeSantis' "Don't Say Gay" law.

  • Disney filed the lawsuit this week after a DeSantis-appointed board — whose members are named as defendants — voted Wednesday to nullify earlier agreements that had given the company authority over most construction near its Orlando resort.
  • After Disney filed its suit, DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske told Axios the administration is "unaware of any legal right that a company has to operate its own government or maintain special privileges not held by other businesses in the state."

Go deeper: What's going on with DeSantis' takeover of Disney special district

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