Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has hinted at a change in stance against The Walt Disney Co., advising the media behemoth to withdraw the lawsuit it brought against his government. DeSantis stressed that he had “basically moved on” from the dispute in an interview with CNBC, and he asked Disney to put more of its attention back on its main business.
Disney filed a complaint in April, alleging that DeSantis’s administration had launched a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” against them. This was the beginning of the battle between the two companies. Disney said that DeSantis’ resistance stemmed from their open opposition to a state law that limited classroom conversations about LGBTQ concerns. DeSantis countered that his actions were intended to rein on corporate excess.
DeSantis, a candidate for the Republican presidential candidacy in 2024, has a history of confronting Disney. In his campaign speeches, he has brought up the corporation to emphasize his opposition to what he considers to be “woke” beliefs.
The Governor has shown a desire to put the disagreement behind him in his most recent remarks, which differ from his previous combative style. Disney should file for bankruptcy, according to DeSantis, who also expressed his belief that the lawsuit will fail.
The genesis of the conflict between DeSantis and Disney stemmed from the latter’s resistance to the Parental Rights in Education Act. The act sought to limit conversations about gender identity and sexuality in specific K–12 classrooms. Disney, led by CEO Bob Chapek at the time, retaliated by opposing the law.
When the Florida Legislature approved a bill to remove Disney’s special tax district in the state—a move that DeSantis backed—the dispute intensified. He maintained that Disney benefited unfairly from the unique position that allowed it to self-govern around its amusement parks in Orlando.
DeSantis’s critique of “woke” ideals has included his opposition to Disney, but his treatment of the media behemoth has led some in his party to doubt his conservative credentials. DeSantis’ actions drew criticism from former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, while former President Donald Trump called the fight “unnecessary.”
As the argument over corporate influence and governance rages on, the result of the lawsuit and DeSantis’ changing position may have an effect on how the public and private sectors interact.