LIFESTYLE

DeSantis, appointees to Disney World governing board ask that Disney lawsuit be dismissed

Jun 27, 2023, 9:45 AM

On the morning of the summer solstice, Walt Disney World cast members stretch at Cinderella Castle ...

On the morning of the summer solstice, Walt Disney World cast members stretch at Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in a pre-dawn gathering before the park opened Wednesday, June 21, 2023, for their annual team yoga session to commemorate International Yoga Day. An estimated 2,000 employees participated in Wednesday's rain-shortened event, now in its 7th year at Disney World. The International Day of Yoga occurs worldwide each year on the summer solstice and was established by the U.N. General Assembly in 2014. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys for Gov. Ron DeSantis, a state agency and his appointees to a revamped board that governs Disney World are asking a judge to dismiss a federal lawsuit in which Disney claims its free speech rights were violated by the takeover of its governing district. The lawsuit states this happened in retaliation for Disney’s opposition to the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation championed by the Florida governor.

Attorneys for DeSantis, the secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the DeSantis appointees to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District filed motions Monday asking that Disney’s lawsuit in federal court in Tallahassee either be dismissed, put on hold or that they be dropped as defendants.

The federal court lacks jurisdiction over the Republican governor and the state agency’s secretary, who are immune to the lawsuit, and the governor and secretary don’t enforce any of the laws at issue so Disney lacks standing to pursue its claims, attorneys for the state of Florida argued in their motion to dismiss.

The motion also argues that DeSantis has legislative immunity which protects him from actions taken while conducting “legitimate legislative activity.”

“Although Disney has grabbed headlines by suing the Governor, Disney — like many litigants before it who have challenged Florida’s laws — has no basis for doing so,” the motion states.

In their motion, the DeSantis’ appointees to the Disney World governing board asked a federal judge to either dismiss the case or put it on hold until after some of the same issues raised in the federal lawsuit are resolved in state court where the board has a lawsuit pending against Disney.

The DeSantis appointees took over the Disney World governing board earlier this year following a “Don’t Say Gay.”

As punishment, DeSantis took over the district through legislation passed by Florida lawmakers and appointed a new board of supervisors to oversee municipal services for the sprawling theme parks and hotels. But before the new board came in, the company made agreements with previous oversight board members who were Disney supporters that stripped the new supervisors of their authority over design and construction.

In response, DeSantis and Florida lawmakers passed legislation that repealed those agreements.

Disney sued DeSantis and the five-member board, asking a federal judge to void the governor’s takeover of the theme park district, as well as the oversight board’s actions, on the grounds they were violations of the company’s free speech rights.

The board sued Disney in state court in an effort to maintain its control of construction and design at Disney World.

DeSantis, who announced his campaign for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in May, has used the fight with Disney to burnish his “anti-woke” credentials and demonstrate his ability to push a conservative agenda.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at @MikeSchneiderAP

Lifestyle

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Servic...

Associated Press

Trump’s escape from disaster by mere inches reveals a tiny margin with seismic impact

NEW YORK (AP) — Jarring, chaotic and sudden, the bullet whizzed toward the stage where former President Donald Trump stood behind a podium speaking. In its wake: the potential for a horrifying and tragic chapter in American history. But the Republican presidential candidate had a narrow escape — mere inches, possibly less — in Saturday’s […]

11 hours ago

FILE - An Amazon Prime cardboard shipping box label is seen on March 17, 2023, in East Derry, N.H. ...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day is a big event for scammers, experts warn

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon Prime Day is here, and experts are reminding consumers to be wary of scams. Deceptions such as phony emails from people impersonating online retailers like Amazon are nothing new. But phishing attempts increase amid the heavy spending seen during significant sales events, whether it’s Black Friday or Prime Day, according […]

11 hours ago

FILE - An Amazon worker delivers packages in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 2020. July sales events have be...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day deals are almost here. Should you take advantage of them?

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s summertime, and the bargains seem easy at a time when many consumer prices are high. July sales events have become a seasonal revenue driver for the retail industry since Amazon launched its first Prime Day back in 2015. While consumers may be enticed by the advertised can’t-miss savings on some […]

2 days ago

Carlton Smith, left, and Justin Nimmo pose in from of the console of the Barton Opus 234 theater or...

Associated Press

Reviving Hollywood glamor of the silent movie era, experts piece together a century-old pipe organ

DETROIT (AP) — A massive pipe organ that underscored the drama and comedy of silent movies with live music in Detroit’s ornate Hollywood Theatre nearly a century ago was dismantled into thousands of pieces and stashed away. The Barton Opus, built in 1927, spent four decades stored in a garage, attic and basement in suburban […]

2 days ago

A person uses a cell phone on Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Los Angeles. The FBI Internet Crime Compl...

Associated Press

What’s worse than thieves hacking into your bank account? When they steal your phone number, too

WASHINGTON (AP) — One Monday morning in May, I woke up and grabbed my cell phone to read the news and scroll through memes. But it was out of cell service. I couldn’t make calls or texts. That, though, turned out to be the least of my problems. Using my home Wi-Fi connection, I checked […]

2 days ago

FILE -FILE - A Delta Air Lines jetliner is shown at Denver International Airport in Denver, June 26...

Associated Press

Delta Air Lines adopts new rules for flight attendant uniforms after Palestinian pin flap

ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines is changing its employee uniform policy following a turbulent ride through a social media storm started by a passenger’s outrage over two flight attendants photographed wearing Palestinian pins. The uproar over the July 10 post, which described the Palestinian pins as “Hamas badges,” led Delta to ban its employees […]

3 days ago

DeSantis, appointees to Disney World governing board ask that Disney lawsuit be dismissed