Disney has filed a lawsuit in a bid to stop Florida governor Ron DeSantis exerting control over the company’s theme parks in Orlando.
The row stems from a Republican backlash last year after Disney openly criticised a state law banning classroom discussion of sexuality and gender identity in schools.
There has since been a fierce power struggle between Mr DeSantis – widely seen as a potential 2024 presidential election candidate – and the company, which has long enjoyed special tax district status in Orlando.
He appointed an oversight board to oversee development in and around Walt Disney World.
That board later endorsed a legal opinion that declared as void an agreement that laid the foundation for billions of dollars in future development of the theme park.
Florida lawmakers also passed legislation that ended Disney’s virtual autonomy in developing 25,000 acres of land.
Disney, however, frustrated the work of the oversight board by pushing through changes to its special tax district agreement that will limit the board’s powers.
Its lawsuit against Mr DeSantis said: “The company is left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect its cast members, guests, and local development partners from a relentless campaign to weaponize government
power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.”
Chief Executive Bob Iger has called the retaliation against the company “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”
A spokesperson for Mr DeSantis was yet to comment.