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As Florida governor Ron DeSantis might say, buckle up, this one’s a doozy. 

So, as you might have heard, DeSantis is very unhappy with the happiest place on Earth. It all dates back to early 2022, when Disney’s then CEO Bob Chapek came out against Florida’s House Bill 1557, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill that limits teaching about LGBTQ+ issues in public schools. Following the company’s comments, DeSantis, who backed the bill and signed it into law, and GOP lawmakers made a move to strip Disney of the special tax status it has in the Florida region where Walt Disney World resides and empower a group of DeSantis appointees to govern it. 

Disney fought this, finding a way to strip DeSantis’ board of power and giving the company veto power over its actions. It did this by having the outgoing board make a pact that invoked—I kid you not—the “royal lives” clause, which aims to keep the agreement valid in perpetuity, or until the “death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III.” 

On Wednesday, DeSantis’ board moved to nullify that deal—and things got hairy. Almost immediately after the move to void, Disney sued the governor, claiming his actions were retaliatory and stifled the company’s First Amendment rights. 

Wild, right? Well, it gets wilder. While the lawsuit is full of the usual jargon, it’s also got some choice words for DeSantis and his allies. It repeatedly refers to Disney in a sort of third-person personal way that makes the company sound like a lover who is really sorry but thinks it’s time to call it quits. Here are some of the best lines: 

  • “Disney regrets that it has come to this.” Surely it does, but the fact that it has expressed that regret with a 77-page legal filing is really something. 
  • “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.” Yes, certain state officials. 
  • “This government action was patently retaliatory, patently anti-business, and patently unconstitutional. But the Governor and his allies have made clear they do not care and will not stop.” Translation: Disney will also not be stopping. 
  • “Disney finds itself in this regrettable position because it expressed a viewpoint the Governor and his allies did not like. Disney wishes that things could have been resolved a different way.” So much regret. 
  • “But Disney also knows that it is fortunate to have the resources to take a stand against the State’s retaliation—a stand smaller businesses and individuals might not be able to take when the State comes after them for expressing their own views.” Sheesh.  
  • DeSantis and other lawmakers have “proudly declared that Disney deserves this fate because of what Disney said.” Translation: The North(ern part of Florida) remembers. Also, Disney knows what Disney did. 
  • In the company’s Prayer for Relief: “Award Plaintiff its attorney’s fees and costs.” Yes, if the governor loses, he will be footing the bill. 

By Oscar M

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