Disney-Desantis lawsuit over free speech dismissed by judge

ByMIKE SCHNEIDER AP logo
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Judge dismisses Disney lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis
In the Gov. Ron DeSantis vs. Disney controversy, Judge Allen Winsor dismissed the company's free speech lawsuit against the Florida governor.

ORLANDO -- A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed Disney's free speech lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, leaving the company's remaining hopes of regaining control of the district that governs Walt Disney World to a separate state court challenge.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor in Tallahassee said in his decision that Disney lacked standing in its First Amendment lawsuit against the Republican governor and his appointees to the Disney World governing district. The separate lawsuit is still pending in state court in Orlando.

The feud between DeSantis and Disney started in 2022 after the company publicly opposed the state's so-called don't say gay law, which banned classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades.

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The law was championed by DeSantis, who recently suspended his campaign for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. In retaliation for Disney objecting to the law, DeSantis and Republican legislators took over the district Disney had controlled for more than five decades and installed five board members loyal to the governor.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News and this station.