by Akela Lacy
First Amendment retaliation is hard to prove in court, but DeSantis was explicit about punishing Disney for its stance against his “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The suit comes almost exactly a year after DeSantis first lashed out at the entertainment giant for pausing political donations and criticizing the governor’s since-enacted controversial bill — dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by opponents — that bans teaching sexual orientation or gender identity to certain students. Disney claims that DeSantis weaponized Florida’s government by revoking its long-held special tax status immediately after it came out against the governor’s policy.
“Maybe he’s for free speech as long as it’s speech he likes.”
Though First Amendment retaliation suits are notoriously difficult to prove in court, lawyers said that Disney may have an unusually strong case.
“I find it hard to see how you can argue that you’re for free speech when you punish a corporation for their political views or you’re banning books,” said Catherine Cameron, a professor who teaches media law at Stetson University College of Law in Florida. “Maybe he’s for free speech as long as it’s speech he likes.”