Faced with Ron DeSantis, the Disney empire strikes back

In his book which should propel him towards a 2024 presidential candidacy, the Republican Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, recounts how, in 2009 and in a white Navy uniform, he had agreed to marry in the “magic kingdom of Mickey”. , in Orlando. “Casey’s family were what you would call Disney enthusiasts. They loved going to Disney.”

The wedding held but the honeymoon with Disney turned a year ago into a epic arm wrestling where Ron DeSantis intends to eliminate the tax and economic benefits granted half a century ago to Disney, one of the state’s largest employers, after the company criticized a state law (dubbed ” Don’t say Gay”) banning clroom teaching about orientation.

The conflict has already cost CEO Bob Chapek (in part) his job, but Bob Iger, back at the head of Disney after leading it for fifteen years, offers another political caliber and appears ready to engage in battle. : the group has just lodged a complaint against the governor and his administration, on the grounds of his “constitutional rights” to freedom of expression, and a breach of contract that looks like political reprisals.

Right of expression of the company

“The Supreme Court reaffirmed in a 2010 decision that corporations have rights in the name of the First Amendment”, explains a lawyer who is a fine connoisseur of the mysteries of politics. “And Ron DeSantis got so involved in this case that Disney should succeed in proving the causal link between their position and the retaliatory measure”.

Boosted by his good electoral results last year, the governor of Florida could have pushed his advantage a notch too far. “Ron DeSantis equates Republican opposition to Disney’s position on the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill with the Republican Party’s general view of business,” points out Doug Pinkham, chairman of Public. Affairs Council, an organization specializing in lobbying.

“Like Democrats, right-wingers appreciate the jobs, products and services provided by corporations. I can’t imagine a lot of Republicans thinking it’s a good idea to build a state prison next to Disney World — an idea Mr. DeSantis suggested,” he continues.

The governor competes in fact with proposals to end the special status of Disney: he had appointed new members (donors and relatives) to sit on the district council, and thus control it. To which Disney responded with an attempted lockdown.

Trump refocused

“At this point, DeSantis is so invested in his fight against Disney that he can’t let go. He should have declared his victory a long time ago and moved on,” said Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida who specializes in elections, on Twitter.

Faced with a radical DeSantis, Donald Trump also took the opportunity to refocus politically. “Despite his legal troubles and his many political mistakes, Donald Trump knows that condemning the “woke” side of business will not get him elected president. So he is now criticizing DeSantis for attacking Disney, ”notes Doug Pinkham.

The Republican Nikki Haley a primary candidate, is trying to find a political space in turn: “Hey @Disney, my home state will gladly accept your more than 70,000 jobs if you want to leave Florida,” she offered on Twitter.

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