Ron DeSantis Confirms (Again) That His Attack on Disney Was Political Retribution
It’s been less than three weeks since The Walt Disney Company sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over what it claims is an unconstitutional “campaign of government retaliation” personally directed by DeSantis.
And in a newly published interview, DeSantis seems to admit that’s pretty much exactly what happened.
“When Disney first came out against the bill [H.B. 1557]…people in the legislature started floating this idea of going after Reedy Creek,” DeSantis told The American Conservative‘s Bradley Devlin in an interview published Monday by the right-leaning publication.
That bill—dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by the media—forbade the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary school classrooms (a ban that has more recently been expanded to include all public schools in Florida). In response to Disney’s criticism of the bill, DeSantis began a monthslong crusade against the company and the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the special governing jurisdiction which contains Disney’s Florida theme parks and associated properties. That effort culminated, for now, in DeSantis appointing a new board to oversee the zone and Disney’s subsequent lawsuit alleging targeted political persecution.
In the new interview, DeSantis initially tries to pass off the idea as having originated with unnamed members of the state Legislature. Later, he argues that “Disney had fallen out of favor with our base” and become “unpopular with a lot of the legislators.”
But the interview leaves little doubt about who was leading the effort. Devlin writes that, after Disney criticized the bill’s passage, DeSantis “and his team” started digging into the company. Later, after the initial effort to simply repeal the Reedy Creek district nearly collapsed amid a series of legal and fiscal complications, DeSantis talks about guiding the process that ended with the state seizing control of the board that runs Reedy Creek.
Through it all, DeSantis tries to frame the Reedy Creek issue as a unique example of corporate welfare. But there are hundreds of similar special improvement districts scattered across Florida. Only one of them is under attack by DeSantis—and it’s no coincidence that it is the district run by a corporation that’s engaged in a political spat with the governor.
Indeed, DeSantis has openly bragged about engaging in political retribution against Disney, including in his recently published book. The 77-page complaint filed by the company last month is littered with examples of the governor and his political allies confirming that Disney was a singular and politically motivated target.
Asked about Disney’s lawsuit alleging that political retribution, DeSantis says it misses the mark. “I
Article from Reason.com