COURTS & LEGAL

Federal judge dismisses Disney’s free speech lawsuit against DeSantis

Jan 31, 2024, 1:16 PM

FILE - Minnie and Mickey Mouse perform for guests during a musical show in the Magic Kingdom at Wal...

FILE - Minnie and Mickey Mouse perform for guests during a musical show in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, July 14, 2023, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Disney has requested a second court delay in its legal battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointees over who controls Walt Disney World’s governing district. The request this week comes as the company is accusing the appointees and the governor’s office of failing to produce documents it had requested as part of the litigation. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — 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.

Disney says in lawsuit that DeSantis-appointed government is failing to release public records

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.

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.

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Follow Mike Schneider on X: @MikeSchneiderAP.

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Federal judge dismisses Disney’s free speech lawsuit against DeSantis