AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
Late last month, the Walt Disney Corporation announced that former CEO Bob Iger would be returning to the company, replacing outgoing CEO Bob Chapek as stock prices continue to slide and financial numbers are lackluster. But while Disney executives and investors hope that a simple change in leadership will help the entertainment giant rebound, it is the company’s full embrace of wokeism that is the more likely source of its struggles.
Iger previously ran Disney for 15 years, taking the company’s valuation from $48 billion to $257 billion. He was considered one of the most successful Disney CEOs in history. Chapek, meanwhile, who ran Disney’s Parks and Resorts division, seemed poised to thrive when Iger stepped down in February of 2020. He led the company through the COVID-19 pandemic with only a few minor controversies. With parks reopening and the Disney+ streaming service adding more content almost daily, the company looked ready to take off by late 2021.
This optimistic forecast ground to a halt in March 2022. That month, the Florida State legislature passed the “Parental Rights in Education Act,” dishonestly referred to by mainstream outlets as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill prohibits schools from discussing sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity with students from kindergarten through third grade. Disney, like most corporations, had donated money to Democrats and Republicans to serve its business self-interests, including several individuals who supported the bill.
Once this was revealed to the public, mainstream publications, employees, and high-profile celebrities blasted Disney. A small group of employees demanded “leadership to immediately withdraw all financial support from the legislators behind the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, to publicly denounce this legislation fully, and to make amends for their financial involvement.”
After initially refusing to comment, Chapek publicly blasted the bill the day after it passed. He pledged $5 million to a far-left LGBTQ+ advocacy group, launched new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives at Disney, and even restored a same-sex kiss to Lightyear, an upcoming film targeted at young children. The scene and romance between two women in the film had reportedly been removed because it was not a necessary part of the story.
Chapek’s willingness to wade into politics caused millions of American parents to reexamine just how infested Disney was with “woke” ideology. A series of leaked videos revealed that Disney had effectively become a content creator to push progressive themes. One top producer at Disney bragged about her team’s “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” and regularly “adding queerness” to kids’ shows.
While Disney has pushed woke ideology in its products for some time, the messaging became more explicit – and egregious – just as parents became more aware of it. On the relatively benign side of the spectrum, Disneyland Paris announced last January that Minnie Mouse would swap her dress for a pantsuit in the name of “gender neutrality.” On the more aggressive side, Disney subsidiary ESPN held a “moment of silence” during a women’s NCAA basketball game to protest the Florida bill. Disney has also removed classic titles like Peter Pan, Dumbo, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and The Lady and the Tramp from kids accounts on their streaming service Disney+ and included “content warnings” for supposed “racist stereotypes.”
Though many longtime Disney fans made their displeasure over this hard-left lurch known on social media, nothing speaks louder than dollars. Overall, Disney lost more than $4 billion on Disney+ during the last fiscal year, contributing heavily to a miss in the company’s most recent earnings report.
Additionally, two major Disney animated films that openly pushed leftist messaging flopped horribly at the box office this year. The first film was the aforementioned Lightyear. The spin-off of the popular Toy Story franchise, which boasted an all-star cast, was projected to make $105 million on its first weekend. It grossed only $50.6 million.
After the Lightyear bomb, Disney released Strange World, a virtual ode to woke ideology. The animated film, which again is intended for young children in the 5-8 age range, features an LGBT protagonist who openly discusses sexuality. The entire plot of the movie is also a thinly-veiled warning about climate change. With a production budget of $180 million, the film is now expected to bring in less than $80 million – one of the biggest disasters in Disney’s history.
Many on the left have attempted to spin these fiascos as a failure on Disney’s part, or have simply asserted that too many Americans are racist and homophobic. But as conservatives have pointed out, parents simply don’t want their children exposed to mature sexual and political themes at such a young age, regardless of if its LGBT or not. The actual entertainment value of many of Disney’s products is now of only secondary concern – the most important thing for the company seems to be pushing a very specific ideological agenda.
It seems logical that Iger’s first task as CEO should be walking Disney back from the woke cliff. In his first town hall with employees, Iger hinted as much, stating that the company being embroiled in such controversies is “distracting” and “to the extent that I can work to quiet things down, I’m going to do that.” But as Fox Business noted, “Iger actually spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights legislation a month before Disney did and has made it clear that he has no reservations about the company taking polarizing political positions.”
Iger’s return did increase Disney’s stock price slightly. Yet if he continues down the road Chapek paved, Iger may soon meet the same fate. For any entertainment company, the viewers are king, and they are sending a clear message: “go woke, go broke.”
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.
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Iger is the person most responsible for Disney’s woke agenda, which was already in full-tilt when Chapek stepped in. Chapek tried to walk it back, but met with such strong internal resistance that he had to capitulate.
Disney needs a thorough house cleaning. Get rid of the wokest employees who value their messaging over story telling, get rid of the talentless diversity hires who are there just to fill quotas, and bring back some of the talented white men who now struggle to find work in Hollywood because of woke racism and sexism, which is actually worse than the traditional kind.
I canceled my Disney subscription last week. I hope if more parents do this, they will get the message… I actually hope this opens the door for a family-friendly competitor.
This 50+ white male is getting sick of the racism against white people. What the heck did I do?
Hollywood movies and television are essentially one great big extended ‘hate crime’ against white people.
It’s not about profit, it’s about indoctrination
American entertainment industry is an entity almost entirely dedicated to manipulating people and generating profit off of the dissemination of regime-backed anti White ideology.
Disney needs to get out of politics, and never go back, or this situation will happen again.
Disney a stock company for profit. Just provide a healthy fun theme park for kids and family. Don’t get into relationship issues (woke).
Don’t get involved in woke. Just be Disney everyone used to love please. Give us back like ￼2012 fun family vacation premium annual pass too.
I believe Disney will do it again if forgiven by the public I will never trust them again.
Someone should explain ABOMINATION to them.
I remember Walt Disney in its glory when Walt was in charge. Back in the 70’s; Me, my wife and 3 daughters would always look forward to Sunday night when we all could sit down in front of the tv to watch a good, clean, American type movie; now, the name Disney makes me sick to my stomach. If I am aware of it, I will not spend one red cent on anything connected with the name Disney.
We have been to disney world many times over the years with our kids bought many 5day passes for my family. Our family are in their 50s now and my wife still has 3 days left and i still have 2 days left on mine. they are park hopper tickets that comes to $943.00 value we still have on them even we will be in florida in a couple of weeks we will not be going to disney to spend anymore money Over 30 years ago they started gayweek and it has only got worse.
Shut it down we need modern industry not some fake, phony fantasy.
Nobody cares about them any longer. I hope they continue to lose millions.
Let’s make that billions….
Disney is another example of downward spiral of morality in USA since the 1980s. Up until then, you could take all ages of children & parents to Disney movies knowing they would be clean entertainment.
I was 5-6 when my grandmother took me to see Bambi, in Berlin. Fell in love with Disney. Raised on Disney. The Walt Disney years were wonderful. Good clean, heartwarming entertainment. Unlike those, who hinted unhealthy situations in those movies, I am saddened their minds are so twisted.. The left have ruined Disney and I know Walt would never have allowed this darkened Disney to flourish.
Disney, much like Hallmark, are headed downhill fast. Those who matter are just not going to acquiesce to their radical left-leaning policies and their veering away from their original Mission Statement. It’s disheartening and very disturbing.
We took our kids to DisneyLand and DisneyWorld many years ago. I cant see why anyone would go there today. Today’s Disney is an absolute disgrace and affront to everything Walt Disney created and stood for.
I knew Disney was leaning LEFT. I still enjoyed their resorts and parks. Now that they are blatantly WOKE, I just can not support Disney.
This is a company with deep and historically deserved generational emotional ties with its customers/devotees and employees. They literally have made billions of “dreams come true.” Visiting the Parks remains a childhood dream for millions. Because of this “special relationship” for many it is not as straightforward as simply resolving to completely disengage from today’s too often blatantly woke Disney. Yes, Disney has become a schizophrenic mess. But our Disney is worth fighting for and there is still a significant counter woke culture throughout the company. This counter woke part needs support and validation to fight the deviants infesting their midst. If we are to save our Disney this requires some nuance not blanket condemnation. I see the beginnings of this with the financial and artistic failures of Lightyear by Pixar and Disney Studios “Strange New World”. For Disney the theatrical movies are massive cash cows. The successes cumulatively bringing billions of dollars to their bottom line. On the other hand, the cumulative losers tend to be reflected not only on the bottom line, but also in the loss of hundreds of millions of equity value. If we are to fight, we must do it firstly at the box office, then the streaming service, and then the parks. Are you getting the idea. When gratuitous woke is found in any of these three “lines” BOYCOTT! This is doable and hurtful where it counts on the woke psychos. Families, enjoy what you still can from Disney and support the companies un-woke majority. But withhold, withhold, and then withhold some more when the woke rears its ugly head.
About 5-6 years ago Disney was bringing in foreign (Indian) workers to replace American workers. The American being replaced had to train the new worker to get their severance pay. People from other countries are willing to work for less than what Americans get paid. Other big tech companies do the same. So much for “Global Economy”. How much profit does a company have to make?
Disney is the new Satan worshiping channel for children. And they proved it by showing Satan worshiping shows and movies.
Walt Disney is turning over in his grave.
I think Walt Disney (who started Disneyland) is probably turning over in his grave (with the mess Disneyland, Disneyworld, etc. has become)!!!
I think Diusney has gone to far. If thius previous CEO cant pull it out, I predict Disney will b3 a Ghoist Amusment Park in 5 years. Disney Land has lost it’;s meaniung. Kyle L>