It Can Always Get Dumber: Ron DeSantis Moves To Eliminate The Ridiculous Disney Exemption To His Unconstitutional Social Media Bill Because He’s Mad At Disney

from the the-most-ridiculous-place-on-earth dept

It can always get dumber. As you’ll recall, last year Florida man governor Ron DeSantis, as part of his big push to become the new populist leader of ignorant people, pushed for a law to force social media websites to host political content they didn’t want to host. He convinced the subservient Florida Legislature to pass that bill, but not before his staff personally teamed up with lawyers from Disney to insert a buffoonish theme park exemption, that said the law didn’t apply to you if you owned a theme park in Florida. The bill’s author admitted flat out on the floor of the Florida Legislature that this was done to protect Disney from having to worry about the law.

Of course, that was back in the before times, when the GOP wanted to cater to Disney, the largest employer in Florida, and a company that is often deeply connected to that state’s politics. It was little surprise that the company was able to get that obviously, blatantly corrupt and silly carveout, because that’s how it works.

But, over the past month or so, the idiotic narrative has shifted, and now Disney is part of the latest dumb culture war, based on it coming out against a differently stupid culture war bill from DeSantis to enable parents to sue teachers for teaching anything the parents feel is inappropriate for the age of their children — a law that has no purpose other than to create a massive chilling effect in classrooms.

Leaving aside the constitutional issues with that bill, the social media bill was quickly tossed out as unconstitutional on multiple levels by a federal district court judge. Florida has appealed, and that case will be heard soon. While the judge mentioned the Disney exemption, it mattered very little to the overall analysis of why the bill was unconstitutional. It was just, shall we say, additional color. Without it, the ruling was clear, the bill would still be equally unconstitutional. However, the judge noted that the exclusion itself was problematic:

The State asserted in its brief that the [Disney exemption] provision could survive intermediate scrutiny, but the proper level of scrutiny is strict, and in any event, when asked at oral argument, the State could suggest no theory under which the exclusion could survive even intermediate scrutiny. The State says this means only that the exclusion fails, but that is at least questionable. Despite the obvious constitutional issue posed by the exclusion, the Legislature adopted it, apparently unwilling to subject favored Florida businesses to the statutes’ onerous regulatory burdens.

But, of course, now that Disney is no longer a “favored Florida business,” DeSantis (again, his own Legislative Affairs Director, Stephanie Kopelousos, worked with Disney and the legislature to insert — in her words — the “New Disney Language” into the bill) wants to take this benefit away.

Just so we put this all in perspective: Ron DeSantis pushed for and passed an unconstitutional social media content moderation bill, which included an equally unconstitutional carveout for Disney, to protect the largest employer in his state. The following year, because of Disney’s timid opposition to another unconstitutional bill, DeSantis now wants to remove the unconstitutional exemption to the unconstitutional bill to punish Disney for its political speech.

Can they all lose?

DeSantis has put out a proclamation seeking to have the Florida Legislature (who, remember, his office gave the Disney language to) remove the Disney language to punish them. Florida’s legislative session already wrapped up last month, but DeSantis has called them to a new special session for what appears to be a “bash Disney” special session. There are apparently some other anti-Disney proposals that he wants them to consider as well, but the key one is now to remove this exemption.

So, to be clear: Disney is a terrible company for many, many reasons (often detailed here). The social media bill is clearly unconstitutional. The Disney theme park exemption was both unconstitutional and a shameful public display not just of the corrupt level of coordination between Disney and the government, but the shamelessness with which they knew they could do that kind of meddling. The exemption shouldn’t exist. The law shouldn’t exist. The education law is equally problematic, and a full frontal attack on teachers’ autonomy in creating the best lesson plans for students.

But, deliberately attacking a company, and making legislative moves to punish that company in direct response to that company’s speech (especially political speech) is also unconstitutional retaliation. Even if the underlying move — getting rid of the exemption — is the right thing to do. What’s even more ridiculous is that by doing something like this, DeSantis hands Disney all the ammo it needs to go point out that this is retaliation for its political speech (though, in this case, they’re unlikely to bother, since the entire bill is going to be tossed out as unconstitutional anyway).

Of course, it’s quite clear that DeSantis honestly doesn’t care about what’s constitutional, or what’s right, or what’s in any of these laws. He wants to run for President in 2024, and the only way to do that is to fuel the moral outrage machine better than the last President.

And so here we are. In the most ridiculous place on earth.

And I’d rather be anywhere else.

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Comments on “It Can Always Get Dumber: Ron DeSantis Moves To Eliminate The Ridiculous Disney Exemption To His Unconstitutional Social Media Bill Because He’s Mad At Disney”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

No masks in florida politics I see

When it comes to honesty in politics it should really never be ‘honest about corruption’ but damn if some people haven’t thrown all subtlety out the window and have decided to make crystal clear to the world just how corrupt and hateful towards the constitution they are.

I think the only thing more disturbing than the possibility that a state governor is really that petty and stupid is that he’s doing this because he knows urinating on the constitution will play well to his supporters, turning one problematic person into a bunch of them.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

DeSantis honestly doesn’t care about what’s constitutional, or what’s right, or what’s in any of these laws. He wants to run for President in 2024, and the only way to do that is to fuel the moral outrage machine better than the last President.

What’s sad is that he’s succeeding.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
CSMcDonald (profile) says:

tin pot dictator

DeSantis has moved to remove all aspects of local authority from counties and cities since he was elected, he’s absolutely transparent about his autocracy – he was unhappy that the state republicans weren’t carving out the congressional district maps in a completely partisan way so he vetoed their proposal and has somehow arranged it so that he alone gets to choose the new districts.

Because he can use Disney as a convenient scapegoat now he’s moving to remove the local authority they have had for self government of their property since they purchased the land in the 60s – this is arguably not a completely bad thing, but his reasons for it are not any of the reasons that have brought up before, but because they dared to speak against him. Since Disney has more money than god or the state, I’m sure the court battles over this are going to be long and and costly to our state, but our AGs under this and the previous GOP administration have not been afraid to waste taxpayer money fighting court cases they know are absolutely without merit.

Unfortunately his posturing works, he’s treated like the second coming of god, right after his orange king.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

When you think about the connections between Christian nationalism and conservative politics in general, the connection becomes clear: Conservatives, by and large, want to be ruled by a single supreme entity that makes all the hard decisions for everyone in service of “the greater good”. The GOP’s slide into being a party of overt authoritarianism fits in perfectly with that thinking. God is Dear Leader and Dear Leader is God⁠—a mindset perfectly displayed by people damn near worshipping a golden statue of Donald Trump at CPAC last year.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

Conservatives, by and large, want to be ruled by a single supreme entity that makes all the hard decisions for everyone in service of “the greater good”.

You mean GOP voters by and large are authoritarians. “Conservatives” is the name for those who prefer not changing their value systems on a dime. Like, you know, Republicans who still think Lincoln was onto something with abolition.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Stop using that word. It does not mean what you think it means.

Trumpist Republicans aren’t Conservative any more than the current flavor of Progressive Democrat is Liberal. Calling them Conservatives or Liberals just muddies the waters.

Liberals want more freedom, Conservatives want to do things in old, familiar ways. In the USA, those two are actually mostly in agreement in their goals – the starting point of the US system is that anything not explicitly forbidden is allowed, and there are limits on what can be forbidden.

The labels get hijacked by wolves wanting to dress as sheep so as not to alarm the flocks, but that doesn’t change the core nature of things.

A Conservative would never dream of throwing out the Constitution. A Liberal would never dream of editing the protections for human rights like the 1st amendment to restrict freedom. But RINOs like Trump and DeSantis and Progressives on the other side of the divide, are eager to do exactly that, because they aren’t Conservatives or Liberals.

So stop calling them that. All you achieve by doing so is legitimizing them.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Good

“DeSantis has moved to remove all aspects of local authority from counties and cities since he was elected”

Good political subdivisions aren’t sovereign. There is lots of case law on this as political subdivisions have long sought 11th Amendment sovereign immunity.

The united states was created by the sovereign states and those states remain sovereign. A state however, is not created by the political subdivisions, cities and counties. The political subdivisions were created by the state and are subservient to it. A political subdivision thumbs its nose at the state government at its own peril.

mcinsand says:

Pass the Popcorn

I’m really anticipating the fireworks, even if I am naively optimistic. So this would be state autocrat is going up against a global company that has already successfully bought off Congress to ridiculously extend copyright twice, owns ABC, and has media distribution that he can only dream about. He thinks he can win a PR war like this? Not that I’m cheering for Disney, though I’m sure as hell not cheering for DeSantis. This could still be fun to watch.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I think he has a shot nationally, mainly because the media keeps repeating his claims without any actual facts.
The demo he targets also runs to protect every politician who claims they were cancelled & never asks well what did he say?

The scary freak in michigan who told his own daughters that if they were about to be raped to just lay back & enjoy it, still has supporters across the nation.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

They are Republicans who believe that God planned for the rapist to encounter a victim and impregnate them & the victim should be happy to have that bun in her oven & daily reminder of the abuse that lead to it.

Remember if its a “real rape” the body can shut that down… er wait no they do the rape kit and that cleans you out… er wait… I’d give more actual paraphrases of stupid shit they’ve said but I’m sorta sick to my stomach.

sumgai (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“He thinks he can win a PR war like this?”

“Nationally? Probably not. In Florida? Hell yes.”

Oh? Do you want to be the father who has to tell his kids that they can’t go to Disneyland because he voted Republican, and Disney left the state? Or the one who has to tell his family that they have to move out of the state… that is, if they want him to continue working for Disney? Do you really want to be that parent?

And last, just to put paid to this particular account; Do you want to be the one who has to tell Florida Man that the state is financially in deep kimchee because the largest taxpaying employer has left, taking with it a helluva lot of employed tax-paying citizens that moved as well?

I don’t live in that state, but you can be sure that if I were in that position, I would be buying dirt by the truckload in order to bury myself in a hole deep enough that the Florida Man couldn’t ever find me. But then again, I don’t think like a an asshole, so I can’t imagine what kind of excuse that poor sod will come up with to deflect any blame from himself, and still not make it look like Florida Man’s fault.

David says:

Re: Re: Re: You don't get the first bit of grievance politics

“Others are at fault”. In this case “liberal scum that want your proud boys turnt into girls so that they can marry other boys that steal the sports trophies from your humble girls”.

And if you look at the kind of mixed populace in Ducktown, good riddance!

So Disney does not want a share of chauvinism country? Out, out, damn spot! I mean, damn Goofy! Your children will thank you one day for it, like they’ll do for you beating them regularly. Well, the boys. Who will be grateful that they haven’t been born girls.

John85851 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Disney will never leave Florida

Disney will never leave Florida because they have too big of a foot print there.
And remember what happened when the cruise ships started talking about moving their ports out of Florida because DeSantis wanted to end the mask mandates? Yep, DeSantis backed down instead of risking the loss of business that would come from cruise ships leaving Florida.

In reality, DeSantis and Disney will fake fight like wrestlers in the WWE: they’ll put out press releases about how bad the other one is to fire up their followers, but then turn around and make back room deals to make sure they both make plenty of money from tourists.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Amusingly enough, WWE does a fair bit of business in Florida⁠—not only does it put on shows in Florida locations on a regular basis, it also runs its Performance Center and shows for the NXT brand out of (I believe) Orlando.

I doubt WWE would threaten DeSantis with a move out of state over his culture war bullshit⁠—Vince McMahon is a conservative himself⁠—but I’d find it hilarious if such a thing happened now.

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Do you want to be the father who has to tell his kids that they can’t go to Disneyland because he voted Republican, and Disney left the state?”

If Disney leaves Florida, I could still go to Disneyland either in California, France, or Japan. I just wouldn’t be able to go to Disneyworld because it wouldn’t be there in Orlando anymore.

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Nah says:

Techdirt Groomers… this just in… Florida is a state, not the federal government. When Americans take their country back, the first thing to go is the federal government’s power to bother the states.

There will be a LOT of things going bye-bye FOREVER… some certain group of anti-White groomers will just go ‘poof’ and not be anyone’s concern, anywhere, ever again. The kind that purposefully spread pro-molester propaganda, for instance.

Don’t worry though, Techdirt degenerates… you won’t be alone. Many other untermensch shall be wishing they’d kept their anti-White and other degeneracies to themselves around the time the grandchildren of actual Americans become adults.

PaulT (profile) says:


Again, I ask – why are people this stupid always so angry? I thought ignorance was supposed to be bliss, but I’ve never seen anyone as unhappy all the time as people who believe the right-wing fictions they’re told to believe instead of the much better documented and less inciting facts.


But don’t call us Nazis else we’ll cry moar!

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

It would be a pity if Disney decided to move to a state run by someone not insane.

Well Disney has always been there… yeah but they keep electing shitheads and its time to go.

Sportsball teams move leaving states screwed on stadium costs, imagine if Disney did it.

The the only draw to FL would be Spring Break, where they made it illegal for people to have fentnyl test strips to avoid tragedies.
I mean you can argue ‘good people’ don’t use drugs, I’ll point at the West Point Cadets laying on the lawn being treated by EMTs.
All because they thought if no one could have test strips there wouldn’t be a problem anymore.

I can think of a whole bunch of states that would LOVE to have Disney relocate to them that aren’t even 1/4 as insane. But then their target demo seems to be white folk who want to pretend Song of the South is a fair retelling of ‘Merkican History.

FL – we don’t have enough money to accurately track our death rate but we have enough money to modify an unconstitutional law, that will NEVER go into effect, as performance art so a moron who willingly let citizens DIE can run for POTUS.

rangda (profile) says:

a law that has no purpose other than to create a massive chilling effect in classrooms

An uneducated society is an easily manipulated society. If I’m a morally bankrupt (or worse!) politician of course I want to do anything possible to eliminate critical thinking and replace it with faith based thinking. That creates a society much easier to manipulate and control.

Mac says:

DeDantis / Disney

First and foremost I didn’t think anyone could be More crazy than Donald Trump then comes along DeSantis. He makes up laws as to what teaches can teach. Don’t talk about being gay or transgender or having gay parents.
Don’t say gay around k through 12 graders especially kindergarteners to third grade. And it’s a different world now it’s got transgenders so deal with it.
But The teachers are getting in trouble and probably be fired and sued by the parents That’s a lot too even go though I don’t think it would stand up in court
Then there is the Disney thing . Just in 1967 was granted its own governing of its property and cities and whatever it has its own power supply but because it wouldn’t come out and say they agree with desantis on transgender and gay and the don’t say gay bill Now DeSantis wants to control Disney. He’s crazy He’s a dictator He’s crazy like Hitler… In a article about last year it was okay They graced Disney with their own government now they want to take it away. Cry baby DeSantis .
I literally read in an article today a woman who said my son is upset because Bambi’s mother died and he doesn’t understand why the whole family of deer didn’t get killed and hung on the wall with their heads like he’s used to we’re hunters and I demand a redo of this movie. She demandes a redo of Bambi. Is that what desantis wants violence.
That’s just crazy. By the way there is a HUGE RETIREMENT COMMUNITY In Florida and they also were given the right to govern their own little world so it wasn’t just Disney by the way and desantis is not bothering them.
So I’ve never thought that so many dumb people would show up again in the world but they’re all in Florida 41 math books. Don’t say gay don’t teach k to 12 about transgender or gay but you have to teach him about sex at sometime. But now they’re saying don’t teach them or talk to them about transgender or gay especially kindergarten to third grade about . Who would do that nobody not in California not any state that I can think of That’s just plain stupid I’m right now Florida is doing stupid is a stupid does. Every day there’s something new and stupid from desantis. And what’s more amazing is people are following them What is it did you all drink Kool-Aid left over from Trump.
And this idea that if a parent doesn’t like what The teachers teaching your child you can sue the teacher. Excuse me so say you’re in a class where your child is in class and you don’t like the history she’s teaching but the 20 other kids parents don’t mind that their children are getting taught about the American Indians so you get to sue just cuz you don’t like how your child is being taught about American Indians. Well guess what I don’t think you’d win in court.
Think for yourselves people is DeSantis really doing you any good. No he is not
The people alone let them live their lives they’re not hurting you.
This is racism White people being afraid of someone that’s different than that one doesn’t matter what color they are they’re gay third transgender they’re lesbian.
In the ’80s I was walking down the street in a small town not that small over town in California I said to the sky Hey this is my first time walking down the street with the gay guy and he said this is my first time working down the street with the lowrider how funny. We live 40 miles outside of San Francisco. Now everybody needs to get along in this world You don’t need a leader dividing us more and that’s what’s happening in the state of Florida we’re being divided.
The Florida please bring yourselves together fight your master manipulator He’s being like Hitler Don’t be dumb be smart Open your eyes see what’s happening to you Love the people around you And if you can’t love them Just let them be They get to be on this planet too be kind The way you do want to get into your heaven don’t you?
We’ll be good to you

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