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The feud between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been heating up and escalating for a year. It has now become combustible as Disney has claimed they have no choice other than to Sue DeSantis stating it is merely their only response to the “targeted campaign of government retaliation.” 

In the United States District Court in Tallahassee, Disney has filed complaints through the legal representation of Daniel M. Petrocelli, a prominent litigator from Los Angeles. Petrocelli is no stranger to high-stakes cases, having previously served as the attorney for former President Donald J. Trump during a class-action fraud case involving Trump University in 2016.

BBC Reports that within the lawsuit, it states, “But having exhausted efforts to seek a resolution, the company is left with 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.”

Why Such a Feud?

The feud between DeSantis and Disney began approximately a year ago when DeSantis decided to attack the LGBTQ+ community and marginalized communities with outrageous bills such as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” and the “Stop Woke Act”. Anyone opposing DeSantis’s opinion will be a threat to him, and he has since targeted Disney. It’s giving very much less Governor of the state of Florida and more childhood fights on the playground over who is right. 

Don’t Say Gay In Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill is not just regressive; it is a disgraceful attack on progress and the education system in Florida. By prohibiting teachers from discussing LGBTQ identities and sexual education, as well as glossing over the truth about important aspects of history like black history and racism, the bill creates a distorted narrative that will shape the views of future generations. This bill is not just insane; it is shockingly cruel and morally repugnant.

The details of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill are even more disturbing. It is rife with confusion, inconsistency, and lack of clarity, making it impossible for teachers and students to understand and abide by it. The bill purports to apply only to students from kindergarten to third grade. Still, it is so broadly worded that it can be interpreted as banning any discussion of these topics in any classroom at any age. Moreover, the bill does not guide what is considered “age-appropriate” or “developmentally appropriate,” leaving teachers vulnerable to lawsuits and fear prosecution for trying to provide their students with accurate and helpful information.

This bill is an abomination and an affront to the fundamental principles of education and equality. It is a blight on Florida, and Governor DeSantis should be ashamed of himself for allowing it to become law. If you want to learn more about the problematic bill click here for more info. 

Disneys Opposition 

Disney has made a firm commitment to assist in the repeal of Florida’s HB 1557 law, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The company’s public stance against the new law comes after CEO Bob Chapek faced criticism for not speaking out more forcefully and earlier in opposition to the bill before the Florida Senate passed it.

In addition to its vocal opposition, Disney has pledged to donate $5 million to organizations that advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. The company has also started conducting town hall meetings with its employees to discuss improving its support for this community. 

This is where the feud allegedly began between DeSantis and Disney, as DeSantis was more than displeased at Disney’s opposition to his biased and unethical bill. DeSantis responded, “If Disney wants to pick a fight, they chose the wrong guy,” Mr. DeSantis wrote in a fund-raising email to supporters.

Disney Has Been Fighting DeSantis for Years

As Florida’s largest employer and a major player in the state’s economy, Disney has always advocated for progressive values and LGBTQ+ rights. That’s why the company’s feud with Governor Ron DeSantis over the “Don’t Say Gay” bill is so concerning.

For years, Disney has been an outspoken critic of this regressive and discriminatory law, which prohibits teachers from discussing LGBTQ identities and sexual education and glossing over the truth about important aspects of history, like black history and racism. This law is not just morally repugnant; it directly attacks the fundamental principles of education and equality.

But despite Disney’s opposition, Governor DeSantis has continued to push for the enforcement of this draconian law. And while some have criticized Disney CEO Bob Chapek for not speaking out earlier and more forcefully against the bill, the company has actually been filing complaints in the United States District Court in Tallahassee before they decided to sue. This indicates that it will not back down in the face of this assault on progressive values.

Disney’s decision to file these complaints and sue DeSantis is a powerful and principled move that should be commended by all those who believe in equality and social justice. The company has made it clear that it will not stand idly by as Governor DeSantis and his allies attempt to roll back the progress that has been made on LGBTQ+ rights and other progressive causes.

By standing up to this regressive law and advocating for equality and justice, Disney sets an important example for other businesses and organizations. It is time for all of us to join together in support of progressive values and to make it clear that we will not tolerate discrimination, hate, or bigotry in any form.

Disneys Support of  LGBTQ+ Throughout History

In case DeSantis thinks he has any chance of bringing down Disney let alone changing there stance here is a list of all the ways Disney has been historically revolutionary and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community:

  • In 1991, Disney became the first major film studio to produce a movie with a gay lead character with the release of “Beauty and the Beast.”
  • In 1993, Disney World in Orlando, Florida hosted its first annual “Gay Days” event, which has since become a beloved LGBTQ+ tradition.
  • In 2011, Disney added same-sex couples to its Fairy Tale Wedding program, allowing LGBTQ+ couples to have their own Disney fairy tale wedding.
  • In 2014, Disney introduced its first openly gay character in an animated TV series with “Gravity Falls.”
  • In 2015, Disney introduced its first openly gay couple in a major film with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
  • In 2016, Disney installed a rainbow-colored walkway in its theme park in Orlando to show support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month.
  • In 2017, Disney hosted its first-ever LGBTQ+ Pride event in Paris, France.
  • In 2019, Disney aired its first LGBTQ+ kiss on a kids’ show with “Andi Mack.”
  • In 2020, Disney announced that it would be reimagining its Splash Mountain ride to remove its controversial ties to the racist film “Song of the South” and replace it with a theme based on the popular film “The Princess and the Frog,” which features a Black princess.
  • In 2021, Disney donated $5 million to organizations that advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and began conducting town hall meetings with its employees to discuss how it can better support this community.
  • Disney World announced on Twitter that it will host its first-ever Disneyland After Dark: Pride Night on June 13th and 15th for all LGBTQ+ people and allies! The after-hours Pride Month event will offer a variety of themed entertainment, including Disney characters, photo opportunities, specialty menu items, merchandise, and, most importantly, inclusivity,

In addition to these specific actions, Disney has consistently promoted a message of inclusivity and acceptance in its films, TV shows, and theme parks. From the “It Gets Better” campaign to the “Love Comes in Every Color” merchandise line, Disney has continued to show its commitment to creating a welcoming and accepting environment for all.

Disney Is Steadfast in its Support For the LGBTQ+ Community

As the battle between Disney and Governor DeSantis continues to rage and Disney takes DeSantis to court, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to equality and social justice. We must stand with Disney and all those fighting for a more just and equal society and continue working towards a brighter future for all.

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About The Author

Julie Johansson

Educated in Criminal Justice and a true crime junkie. Former mall cop, fur mom and women's rights advocate. I am trying to engage in more important topics and writing is how I connect with my community and the world.