Could Andrew Warren’s First Amendment fight help Disney? Ron DeSantis’ tourism board argues no.

Here are the latest court filings in the ongoing legal saga between DeSantis and Disney.

The state-controlled Disney World tourism board is fighting back as Disney tries to maneuver the suspended Tampa prosecutor Andrew Warren’s court case to its advantage in Disney’s own federal lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Warren, the Hillsborough County State Attorney who is a Democrat, lost his job when the Republican governor suspended him from office over allegations Warren acted inappropriately. Warren had been vocal about not willing to criminalize abortion, gender-transition treatments for children and some minor offenses.

Now, Warren’s First Amendment court case against DeSantis can go before a trial judge, according to a decision this week from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that slammed DeSantis’ actions. The lower court ruled DeSantis violated Warren’s First Amendment rights although the order failed to give Warren his job back.

Disney jumped on the Warren court update in its own legal battle against DeSantis. 

“The same values are at stake here,” Disney said in court documents filed Thursday.

The entertainment giant is suing DeSantis after the Republican state lawmakers enacted new laws last year that stripped the company of the power to choose its government board and allows state inspectors onto the Disney World monorail for the first time. Disney argued those reforms are retaliation for Disney speaking out against the state’s controversial law that bans classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation. Disney’s federal lawsuit also names its own Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board, the formerly named Reedy Creek board that has since been renamed and reappointed with DeSantis allies.

On Friday, the tourism board filed its court response to Disney, arguing the Warren case is different from Disney’s First Amendment fight.

“Unlike a challenge to one official’s unilateral action, Disney challenges laws enacted by a majority of lawmakers in both houses of the Florida Legislature and approved by both of Florida’s political branches. And Disney’s challenge does not turn on the text of that legislation; rather, Disney’s challenge turns exclusively on the subjective motivations of those who enacted the laws at issue,” the board said in a court filing.

DeSantis, who is running for president, has attacked Disney regularly and accused the company of being “woke.” Disney, meanwhile, reminded lawmakers its one of the Florida’s biggest employers and taxpayers.

“Any action that thwarts those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took sounds not just anti-business, but it sounds anti-Florida,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said at the company’s annual shareholders meeting last year. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    January 13, 2024 at 5:52 pm

    Nope. Wont work.
    Earl Pitts American

    • Joe

      January 20, 2024 at 10:45 am

      Lol, Earl Pervs is running out of steam along with his hero Tiny D’s failing campaign. Bye dorks!

    • JD

      January 22, 2024 at 11:57 am

      SO MUCH LOSING. Loser EarL (with the big “L”).

      Dont’ get caught in the mouse trap with your boy Ronnie.

  • Julia

    January 13, 2024 at 7:05 pm

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  • Ron DiSaster

    January 13, 2024 at 8:11 pm

    “Ron DeSantis’ Tourism Board”
    This is something that exists only to oversee Disney because “small government” or something.

  • truthsayer

    January 13, 2024 at 11:49 pm

    Huge deal; the same circuit court whose verdicts are binding in the Disney v DeSantis court just handed Disney a win, if not at this court, then definitely on appeal, not that I thought they needed it, but it consolidates Disney’s position, game over Ron and just before Iowa.

  • Cheesy Floridian

    January 16, 2024 at 12:55 pm

    Of course the board hand picked by DeSantis, they were not elected by the people of Reedy Creek, would say that this ruling for Andrew Warren does not apply to the Disney case. It’s just another example of DeSantis and his puppets using the gov. of Florida to bully and attack people who have different viewpoints and are not aligned with the GOP republican base. Oh wait, DeSantis decided after Disney spoke up about the “Don’t say Gay” Law that he would remove their special taxing district and instead of letting the voters decide who would be on the new board, it was hand picked by DeSantis. Didn’t he hand pick the replacement for Andrew Warren too?

    • Dont Say FLA

      January 22, 2024 at 11:55 am

      After DeSantis’ expenditures of state money for his private campaign finally get some Sunshine, he’ll be quite delighted to find himself in prison because as everybody knows, “In prison, it ain’t gay. It’s just prison.”

Comments are closed.


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