Part of the mouse-roaring lawsuit that entertainment giant Walt Disney filed against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and company reads like — well, it reads like a Disney script. There’s a bully and there are the vulnerable — and then there is a hero with the strength, character, and resources to foil the bully and protect those at risk.
Over to central casting we go.
Bully: Ron DeSantis
Vulnerable: Small businesses and people with scant resources
Hero: The Walt Disney Co.
Disney isn’t just out to protect itself according to the suit. Like any good hero, Disney is out to save the day and change the environment in which people operate, make it more respectful and safe. Disney worries about others, less financially fortunate, who would be unable to mount such a defense — given the costs — when “the state comes after them for expressing their own views.” Ben Dreyfuss shares the particular passage:
Disney unloads on DeSantis in this lawsuit https://t.co/g8HEgd3xOW pic.twitter.com/drIERGQISL— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) April 26, 2023
“In America,” the complaint reads, “the government cannot punish you for speaking your mind.” Presumably, that means even if you run around everywhere saying “gay gay gay.”
Disney expresses a sense of responsibility on the issue because it “has the resources to take a stand against the state’s retaliation — a stand smaller businesses and people might not be able to take…”
Regular people and corner groceries simply cannot sue the Governor — it’s legal, but impractical.
The role the wealthy Disney company now takes on has echoes of Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos‘s stand against those who tried to bully him in 2019. Facing an extortion threat about potentially embarrassing photos, Bezos didn’t pay off the blackmailers and keep quiet. Instead, he publicly called out his extortionists.
Bezos memorably cited his uniquely resource-rich position in implying that he was defending more than merely his own honor:
“Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here,” Bezos wrote. “If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?”