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“I’ll Bet You Miami PD Tries To Beat That”: DeSantis Applauds Multiple Arrests at Disney World

Disney Ron DeSantis
Credit: Disney/DeSantis, edited by ITM

Governor Ron DeSantis has applauded and cheerfully joked about the swift police action that recently took place at the gates of The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, the site of many of his legal battles.

Ron DeSantis waving with a smile, superimposed over an image of the colorful entrance to walt disney world, suggests a greeting or a celebratory moment at the renowned theme park.

Image Credit: Inside The Magic

DeSantis and Disney: The Many Battles

As a politician, Ron DeSantis has long defined himself by his opposition to his foes. Broadly speaking, that has meant he promotes himself as fighting against vague “woke” forces, the “liberal agenda,” and things like worker protections and child labor laws.

Related: With No Fanfare, DeSantis Signs Two Bills That Allow Disney To Hire Kids for Dangerous Jobs

But for much of the last year, Governor DeSantis was locked in a multi-layered war with The Walt Disney Company, one of the world’s most beloved media corporations and the largest single-site employer in the state of Florida (thanks to Walt Disney World). The feud was kicked off when former Disney CEO Bob Chapek publicly opposed the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, formally known as the Parental Rights in Education Act, which led to swift retaliation from the governor.

Ron DeSantis with the Walt and Mickey statue at Disney World

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

Over the months, he dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the special tax district where most of Walt Disney World is located, and replaced it with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), complete with a board of DeSantis appointee supervisors. This led to a series of lawsuits between Disney, the CFTOD, and the governor, and numerous accusations of financial mishandling, cronyism, corruption, and constitutional rights violation.

Related: Governor Ron DeSantis Signs $40 Million Tax Break for Disney

In a surprise move, the CFTOD and Disney abruptly announced a settlement in March that would allow all parties to essentially walk away with their dignity intact. Despite that, Governor DeSantis appears unable to not continue to make comments about Disney business, and this latest police action is no exception.

“That Gauntlet’s Been Laid Down”

An activist political group calling itself “Queers for Palestine” recently made headlines for protesting the continuing attacks by Israel on the Gaza Strip at an exit from Disney World, mirroring the nationwide outcry regarding the conflict.

The current ongoing conflict was kicked off by the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, which led to a near-constant volley of U.S.-funded retaliation from Israel. As of this last week, the World Health Organization published that over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks, with an estimated 60% of those being women and children (per Reuters).

A person stands on a car roof on a highway, raising two fingers in a peace sign. Signs with phrases like "FREE PALESTINE" and "GUESTS BLOCKED" are displayed on an overpass.

Images Credit: Stu, X

Israel has faced widespread condemnation for its continuing attacks on Gaza, while protests of the American government’s support of the nation are being widely covered in the media. This protest at Disney World was particularly notable for the juxtaposition of one of America’s most beloved theme parks alongside a protest for awareness of a massive violent conflict.

Political protest is broadly protected by the United States Constitution from government interference, but law enforcement can still intervene if activists perform actions like blocking traffic, such as Queers for Palestine did at Disney World. At least three of the protestors were arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) in a move that the Governor is now publicly applauding (per Floridian Press).

Governor DeSantis said of the Disney World Palestine protests, “Last weekend, we had ‘Queers for Palestine’ think they could take over the intersection going into Disney World. Florida Highway Patrol got them off in, I think, 11 minutes, so I think that’s the world record.”

Related: Governor DeSantis Announces Disney Rival Parks Will Offer Free Admission

Composite image featuring Governor DeSantis in a suit speaking animatedly, superimposed next to an image of the Disney castle under a clear blue sky.

Credit: Inside the Magic

The far-right politician went on to echo the cries of many people who were inconvenienced by free speech political protest regarding a massive conflict, saying, ” So, if you think you can do that and get away with it – Look, there’s so much – Look what they’re doing at Columbia, all this stuff, that is crazy. But waiting people wait in traffic is no bueno. I don’t care what your cause is, you do not cause people to wait in traffic, especially in areas that already have traffic. So I think 11 minutes that FHP Orlando got them out may be the new record.”

A common complaint toward pro-Palestine (or virtually any other political protest) is that it can actually undermine its own cause by inconveniencing people in their daily commutes or life, while protestors themselves assert that is basically the point: create awareness by any means necessary.

Governor DeSantis closed up by essentially encouraging police to brutally crack down on political protests as quickly as possible, even telling them to make it a competition. He said, “But I’m sure now that that gauntlet’s been laid down, I don’t think they’re going to try it again in Miami, but if they do, I’ll bet you Miami PD tries to beat that. So let’s see, we’ll have a little healthy competition to see who can be out first.”

Do you think DeSantis should be telling law enforcement to suppress protests like the one at Disney World? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic.

About Nathan Kamal

Nathan Kamal is a Chicago-based writer and comic, who enjoys cooking, hanging out with his cat, and seeing as many movies as possible.

4 comments

  1. Legislature should and can add statutes that precludes interruption to state commerce. I support Desantis position.

  2. Absolutely – your protest should not effect my convenience in any way

  3. Sandra Zabelle

    Greatest governor!!

  4. There is nothing wrong with a peaceful protest for something you believe in, but when you block traffic, interrupt peoples daily activities, or turn to violence then no you don’t have any right to do those things , and they should be arrested

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