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Disney sues Ron DeAntis, accusing him of ‘retaliation’

Disney sues Ron DeAntis, accusing him of ‘retaliation’

(Miami) Their divorce is finally consummated: Disney filed a complaint Wednesday against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, equating the actions of the American hard-right tenor, which ended the company’s special status in his state, to a “targeted retaliation” campaign against the group.

A major employer in the area with the Disney World theme park in Orlando, the entertainment giant was recently penalized by Mr. DeSantis for its progressive stances.

The governor, a likely candidate for the White House, has made fighting the “Wakees” one of his main battlefields: He accuses a group of “elites” of imposing their progressive ideology on a society that rejects it, and has vowed to erect a bulwark. there on his land.

Not yet declared a Republican primary, this 44-year-old conservative holds his fight against Disney as standard, in his speeches as in his recent autobiography, where the subject takes up an entire chapter.

In its complaint, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts accuses Mr. DeSantis of orchestrating a veritable “campaign” of “targeted government retaliation” against him, to punish him for exercising “free speech.” The company says this “now threatens Disney’s business activities, endangers its economic future in the region and violates its constitutional rights.”

Education and sexual orientation

The group had angered the governor last year, by denouncing a bill that would restrict the teaching of subjects related to sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida elementary schools.

Since then, Mr. DeSantis in February removed Disney’s special status in his state, putting an end to the benefits — administrative facilities, site self-management, favorable loans, and so on. – that Disney World theme parks have enjoyed since the 1960s.

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In the wake of the decision, a tourism regulatory commission appointed by Mr. DeSantis agreed on Wednesday to cancel a recently concluded business agreement with the park, which employs 75,000 people and attracts 50 million visitors annually.

Disney responded by declaring in its complaint “a retaliatory measure, which is manifestly contrary to commerce and manifestly unconstitutional”. The group believes that it “has no choice but to take this legal action to protect its employees, customers and partners”.

In early April, Disney chairman Bob Iger publicly accused Ron DeSantis of taking an “anti-trade action” that violated the company’s “right to free speech.”

He said Disney plans to invest more than $17 billion in Disney World over the next decade, create more than 10,000 jobs, and attract more tourists to Florida.

“Any action to thwart these efforts merely in retaliation for a stance the company has taken appears to be not only anti-trade, but anti-Florida as well,” Iger said.

A prison near the park?

He compared the Disney chairman to certain positions taken by corporate America in favor of the civil rights struggle in the United States in the 1960s.

In its complaint, the group expressed concern about new retaliatory measures that Mr. DeSantis could take.

In mid-April, the governor publicly considered building a “state prison” near Disney World, or a competing theme park. He also mentioned the idea of ​​additional taxes for hotels on the site, or toll roads around.

“I think the possibilities are endless,” he said cheekily at a press conference.

Mr. DeSantis, a figure on the populist right in the United States, is Donald Trump’s most dangerous rival in the Republican primary.

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However, his fight against Disney is starting to draw some criticism from the right. Some Republicans criticize an anti-business fight that goes against their party’s traditions, usually being overtly “pro-business”.