Ron DeSantis continues his relentless campaign against private businesses that dare to challenge him, and this time, his sights are set on Disney’s employees.
Under the guise of oversight, a board appointed by DeSantis himself has taken aim at the perks provided to Disney World employees, including free season passes and discounts on hotels, merchandise, and food. The board’s audacious complaint, submitted to the state inspector general, attempts to portray these common employee benefits as unethical and detrimental to Florida’s finances, a claim that seems far-fetched at best.
Experts dismiss this latest attack as baseless. Richard Foglesong, a respected Rollins College professor emeritus with deep insight into Disney World’s self-governance, points out that the employee perks are simply part of the standard package in many organizations. The notion that these perks amount to a deliberate tax evasion scheme is laughable. But DeSantis’s actions reveal a troubling pattern of discord with Disney World, extending over the past year.
When Disney’s then-chairman criticized DeSantis’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, the governor responded vindictively. Stripping the park of its autonomy, he installed a board of loyalists to wield control. This power grab was an apparent act of retaliation, demonstrating DeSantis’s readiness to flex his political muscles against any perceived opposition.
In April, Disney took a stand, suing DeSantis and his administration for abusing their authority to suppress the company’s freedom of speech. The evidence against DeSantis is compelling, as court documents extensively reference his own memoir and statements from his allies, alluding to their concerted efforts to undermine Disney’s autonomy in response to the company’s stance against the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Recently, DeSantis attempted to downplay the legal feud, claiming to have “moved on” from the dispute with Disney. However, his confidence that Disney will lose the lawsuit appears more as wishful thinking than grounded assessment. Meanwhile, Disney refuses to back down, steadfastly maintaining its original lawsuit and even escalating the battle. The company’s attorneys have now fired back with counterclaims, alleging breach of contract by DeSantis’s handpicked board of supervisors. Disney seeks both compensation and an injunction to enforce certain development agreements.
In the face of DeSantis’s persistent aggression, it’s clear that Disney remains unwavering, prepared to defend its rights and its employees against the governor’s ongoing onslaught.