Florida Republican Gov’t Officials Bend Over Backwards To Tell Everyone That, Yes, Absolutely, They Are Punishing Disney For Its Speech

from the please-play-these-videos-in-court dept

We had talked about simply how pathetically ridiculous it was that the Florida legislature was contemplating stripping the already unconstitutional Disney theme park exemption totally from the unconstitutional social media invoice that was handed, with the assistance of Disney, simply final yr. And on Thursday, as anticipated, the Republicans in Florida’s legislature went forward and permitted that change, in addition to one other one, stripping Disney of a particular provision in Florida regulation that successfully offers it a form of sovereign energy over all of Disney’s land in Orlando.

So a couple of fast factors on this: (1) the social media invoice is dumb and unconstitutional, however the theme park exemption was simply the unconstitutional icing on an unconstitutional cake, which solely served to focus on simply how unconstitutional the entire thing was, so stripping it away is performative nonsense. Disney doesn’t deserve an exemption, however it additionally doesn’t need to have the federal government punish it for its speech. (2) Identical cope with the “Reedy Creek Enchancment District” setup, which in all probability shouldn’t be a factor for Disney. However, once more, that’s no excuse to swipe it as punishment. However, most significantly (3) all the Disney stuff is a misdirection smoke present. Florida politicians, and particularly Ron DeSantis need everybody to deal with the fake outrage over Disney, relatively than the principle function of the additional legislative session: to much more excessively gerrymander the state’s districts to utterly wipe out two closely Black districts. That’s the true concern right here.

Nevertheless, gerrymandering is much less of a Techdirt matter than free speech, so I did wish to return to the Disney factor. Over the previous few months, definitely, we’ve known as out politicians, each Democrat and Republican, for this extraordinarily unlucky pattern of threatening firms with potential legislative punishment in response to their speech. Now, more often than not, the politicians (and their typically vocal supporters) attempt to clarify that it’s okay if all they’re doing is passing a legislative change that ought to occur. Nevertheless, we’ve disagreed time and time once more: even should you just like the legislative proposal, the truth that it’s being finished as punishment for speech represents a severe 1st Modification concern.

No less than in most of these circumstances, although, the politicians in query weren’t fairly so dumb as to publicly say that they had been doing this completely as retaliation for speech. It’s often extra of a correlation factor, the place the corporate will do one thing dumb that politician X doesn’t like, after which politician X instantly declares these performative, grandstanding legislative plans that may punish the corporate — however they don’t straight say they’re doing it for that purpose.

However, that is Florida. And Florida, boy, they do stuff otherwise down there, don’t they? And on this case, it signifies that Florida’s Republican politicians are actually bending over backwards to present Disney all of the proof they should run to court docket and get these legislative modifications declared unconstitutional retaliation. They’re not even attempting to do the foolish little dance the place they fake there are legit causes for these legislative removes. First up, there was Rep. Randy Effective, when requested by the press if this was retaliation, he simply outright admitted after all it was:

Particularly, he compares this to when he punishes his children for “performing up,” which is simply going to play nice in entrance of a decide:

However right here’s the difficulty, when my 14-year-old or my 10-year-old ask for particular privileges? They behave! And so they don’t count on these particular privileges in the event that they act like jerks. So Disney is studying that they’re a visitor on this state.

So, yeah, nice. You’re saying that you just’re retaliating towards the corporate for “performing like jerks” by… talking mildly out about laws they dislike. Or, extra particularly, right here’s a politician flat out admitting that he’s punishing an organization for its political speech.

Nevertheless it will get worse. Florida’s Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez, who earlier on this stupidly ridiculous tradition conflict flat out claimed that Disney’s executives “haven’t any proper to criticize laws by duly elected legislators” and acknowledged straight that she and Governor DeSantis “received’t stand for it.” So, she had already made it clear that she didn’t imagine the most important employer in her state even had the proper to criticize politicians (spoiler alert: they completely do have that proper, as a result of opposite to no matter Florida’s GOP thinks, the first Modification and free speech is definitely a factor).

Nevertheless, simply to drive the purpose residence about how unconstitutional this retaliation is, and the truth that the ONLY purpose it’s being finished is due to the corporate’s political speech, Nunez doubled down on Newsmax (after all) on Thursday, and when requested if Disney took again what it stated, would Florida reverse course on this new laws — she stated it might!

I imply the entire phase is silly, however Newsmax’s Eric Bolling (final seen right here submitting a SLAPP go well with towards a reporter) asks a silly query and Nunez simply flat out admits that it’s completely about Disney’s speech:

Bolling: Is there a possibility for Disney to vary their thoughts and say, ‘we are going to disregard this entire ‘woke’ agenda.’ We’ll return to what we initially handled, the state of Florida, and would the governor then say, ‘high-quality, you’ll be able to preserve your standing however we’re gonna keep watch over you now’? How does this play out for Disney? Lots of people like Disney and so they don’t wish to not like Disney any extra.

Nunez: Certain! And we’ve all been to Disney, these of us with small children have been to Disney. However they’ve modified their mantra. They’ve modified what they espouse. It was household values. It was leisure that was age applicable. And now, based mostly on their very own admission, they’ve a not-so-secret agenda to indoctrinate our youth with matters which are very inappropriate.

First off, that’s absolute nonsense. I imply, the one factor Disney “indoctrinates” children into is the concept mother and father have to take out a 2nd mortgage to afford to take their children there. However actually, simply the truth that Nunez responds “Certain!” to the concept if Disney modifications its thoughts, the entire thing may go away — and that the explanation for doing that is due to the issues the corporate “espouses,” means that is an exhibit ought to Disney determine to go to court docket over this.

That is why we preserve calling out politicians who threaten firms over their speech. As a result of as they get away with it, it solely escalates and escalates. We’re going to see much more of this type of nonsense, and the one strategy to get it to cease is for the courts to smack down these sorts of issues for what they’re: the federal government punishing firms for his or her political speech.

If you need extra particulars on what these payments truly imply for the state of Florida (it might be an absolute catastrophe), I can’t advocate something greater than Sarah Rumpf’s deep evaluation of the influence of the assault on Disney. It quotes tons of Florida consultants, together with Republicans, admitting that if Disney loses its standing, it might wreak havoc on the state’s funds. Additionally, simply the truth that the federal government is doing this appears prone to scare off companies from transferring to Florida. Miami has been attempting laborious to set itself up as a tech hub the previous few years, however what tech firm desires to maneuver there when DeSantis has made it clear he’ll punish you any manner he can if he doesn’t like what you say?

I don’t assume we’ve ever stated something good about Disney right here, and I don’t assume it essentially deserves the 2 advantages that the Florida authorities gave them prior to now in any respect. However the motive right here issues. Making these strikes as direct retaliation for Disney’s speech violates the first Modification.

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