As part of a year-long dispute, a Florida court on Friday reportedly denied Walt Disney Co.’s request to have a lawsuit brought by an oversight district dismissed.
This decision may make it more difficult for the entertainment giant to bring its own lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis.
The decision permits the oversight district to proceed with its legal action to invalidate “backroom deals” in Disney’s favor that were made with a previous district board earlier this year.
The district has claimed that annulling such agreements would all but end Disney’s federal lawsuit against DeSantis.
After Disney challenged a Florida legislation prohibiting discussion of sexuality and gender identity with younger children in the school, the conflict broke out last year. DeSantis, a Republican candidate for president, has often criticized “woke Disney” in public statements.
DeSantis persuaded senators to approve legislation that changed the district’s name to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and gave the governor control over the board rather than Disney.
On the eve of the Reedy Creek Improvement District coming under DeSantis’ authority, lawmakers also retroactively nullified agreements that Disney had made with the previous board of what was then the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
Disney sued the governor in federal court in April, alleging that DeSantis “weaponized” state government against the business in response to Disney’s criticism of the legislation requiring classroom gender discussions.
Disney urged the federal court to stop the state from implementing the laws against the business and to reinstate the advantageous development agreements Disney had made with the board of the previous district.