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DeSantis said he’s ‘basically moved on’ from the Disney feud — and now wants Bob Iger to drop the lawsuit against Florida that legal experts say the company could win

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis got married at Disney World in 2009.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis got married at Disney World in 2009.

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  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told CNBC he and his allies would like to move on from the Disney feud.
  • DeSantis said he would tell Disney CEO Bob Iger to drop the lawsuit, and that they can’t win it.
  • But legal experts previously told Insider the lawsuit brought by Disney had some teeth.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has apparently moved on from his long, public feud with Disney — and would like the House of the Mouse to do the same.

In an interview with CNBC that aired Monday, DeSantis said he and his allies have “basically moved on” from sparring with Disney.

The feud kicked off last year when DeSantis revoked Disney’s special tax status after the company spoke out against the state’s Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed by critics the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

DeSantis also said he does not plan to undo the changes made to Disney’s tax status.

“So all we want to do is treat everybody the same, and let’s move forward. I’m totally fine with that,” DeSantis told CNBC. “But I’m not fine with giving extraordinary privileges, you know, to one special company at the exclusion of everybody else.”

When asked what he would tell Disney CEO Bob Iger today, DeSantis said he would tell him to “drop the lawsuit.”

“I would just say, go back to what you did well. I think it’s going to be the right business decision,” he added.

DeSantis was referring to a lawsuit Disney brought against Florida in April alleging the state weaponized government power to punish the company for its protected speech.

The suit accused DeSantis and his office of orchestrating “a targeted campaign of government retaliation” against Disney that “threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.”

DeSantis has dismissed the lawsuit and said that Disney is not entitled to special privileges that other companies do not receive. He also told CNBC that Disney can’t win.

“They’re suing the state of Florida. They’re going to lose that lawsuit,” he said.

But legal experts previously told Insider’s Sindhu Sundar that the lawsuit appeared to have merit and that the company may be able to prove the state infringed on its constitutional rights.

“If it was unequivocally clear that the whole purpose of a law was to retaliate against Disney for its executives’ statements, that’s a First Amendment violation,” David Schultz, a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota law school, said, adding, “The government is not supposed to punish you for the views you express.”

Though Disney may have a case, it’s certainly not a slam dunk, as the company will have to prove the intention behind revoking its tax status was retaliation.

The lawsuit cited some examples that could be used to prove it was retaliated against, including a Florida state legislator saying, “You kick the hornet’s nest, things come up.”

The Walt Disney Company and DeSantis’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider