Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is encouraging Disney to back down on suing the state after a year of retaliatory laws against the company’s progressive political stances.
- On Monday, DeSantis spoke with CNBC and encouraged the Disney Corporation to end its retaliatory lawsuit against the state.
- When asked what he would tell Disney CEO Bob Iger, he responds, “So what I would say is, drop the lawsuit.”
- “I would just say, ‘Go back to what you did well.’ I think it’s going to be the right business decision and all that,” he says. “All we want to do is treat everybody the same and let’s move forward. I’m totally fine with that.”
- The company previously filed a lawsuit in April against the government, alleging a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” against the company by removing its special tax status.
- On Tuesday, DeSantis requested a state judge to dismiss the lawsuit outright and formally strip Disney of its tax status.
Why It’s Important
After more than a year and a half, the state of Florida’s governor and largest employer continue to engage in a feud, which began with the governor’s retaliation over its depiction of LGBTQ+ and “woke” content in children’s programming.
Governor DeSantis’s CNBC quote makes it sound like he is either being conciliatory toward the corporation or backing down from his campaign of “anti-wokeness” under pressure. However, this does not capture the full picture of his stance. DeSantis argues that the lawsuit is against the state and that “They’re going to lose that lawsuit.”
“The governor wasn’t backing down so much as he was trying to argue that Disney should simply give up a lawsuit that might very well succeed … In effect, the struggling GOP candidate has publicly delivered a curious message to the company: ‘Now that I’ve finished hitting you, the important thing is that you stop trying to hit me back,’” argues MSNBC producer Steve Benen.
This might prove to be an arrogant or incorrect statement once the lawsuit reaches court, but that remains to be seen. The governor may well fear that losing the case could further damage his already struggling national reputation, with him continuing to trail behind former President Donald Trump in the polls. As FiveThirtyEight notes, DeSantis trails Trump in a distant second at 15%, compared to the frontrunner’s 53.7%.
As we previously reported, DeSantis is attempting to restart his campaign and shifting his message and organizational structure after falling behind in the primaries. He also recently took aim at Bud Light owner InBev over claims of financial mismanagement in ESG funds.