When You Wish Upon a Star…


Anna Lucia Arguello, Staff Writer

Disney is suing the Florida government for violating its constitutional rights following months of hostility. But many are wondering how Disney is able to do this, and why a move like this is necessary.  

It started with Florida’s original “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which banned discussions of sexuality and gender in the classroom from kindergarten to third grade. This was followed by legislation to limit discussion of these topics in books kept in school libraries and even outside media. Florida Governor DeSantis views Disney’s inclusion of queer characters as a corporation with too much power overstepping its bounds, shoving viewpoints down citizens’ throats. To combat this, he openly considered combining Florida’s Disney World tax district with Orlando’s general tax district, giving Disney less control over their finances. Realizing this would give Orlando too large of a tax burden, the government settled for placing more conservatives on Disney World’s board. Other threats have been made toward the company, including added taxes or tolls, a state prison near the park, and even building a new theme park.  

Disney, pressured by fans, had opposed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and accompanying legislation. That’s when the company began hearing complaints. The characters that many had celebrated as markers of progress were subject to massive backlash and opposition. When Disney had their last attempt to control the Florida park declared null and void by the government selected board, they sued. Their lawsuit hinges on parts of the First and Fifth Amendment which block the government from taking actions that will impair private contracts and taking private land for public use. In court, all Disney needs is proof that the government took its actions as retribution and the judge will likely rule in their favor. Given DeSantis’ outspoken opposition to the iron-fisted rule of “woke” corporations, it shouldn’t be a difficult standard to meet. In addition, recent lawsuits and boycotts against major companies, like Nike’s controversy in 2018, have had little to no effect on the companies’ long-term profits. The public simply moves on after a few years, focused on more recent issues and controversies. 

Though taking on a state government may seem difficult, Disney is more than its match. Though the lawsuit might be long, Disney will likely win, and life will continue as before in Florida.