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Disney sues DeSantis over Florida GOP governor's attempt to limit its control of theme park

Disney World has self-governing privileges that DeSantis has threatened to revoke

Published: April 26, 2023 12:32pm

Updated: April 26, 2023 1:49pm

Disney filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis alleging he and other state Republican lawmakers having a "targeted campaign of government retaliation," over the so-called 2020 "Don't Say Gay" bill. 

Disney World had self-governing privileges that DeSantis threatened to revoke after the company snubbed him last year when he signed a law in 2022 that his opponents labeled the "Don't Say Gay Bill." 

The bill that was signed into law bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public school classrooms from grades kindergarten through third. Supporters of HB1557 supported it because they believed it gave parents more of a say in their child's education.

Earlier this year, DeSantis signed a bill ending Disney's special self-governing status.

Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger called DeSantis “anti-business” at Disney's annual shareholder meeting earlier this month. 

Disney's district, previously called the Reedy Creek Improvement District, employs around 75,000 people.

DeSantis had planned to force the old Disney board out of power. Its members passed an agreement in February that would have kept much of the power of self-governance with Walt Disney World, not the new board. 

This is a developing story.

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