In self-serving comments made during an interview, “standing firm” Disney CEO Bog Chapek seemed to claim victim status for his now very woke, supposedly family friendly entertainment company, with the subtext including criticism of parents-first Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Chapek insisted that Disney seeks to represent “families of all types.”
During the conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, he claimed Disney internally is a “cohesive, big, happy family,” despite controversy.
The boss also implied that in the post-COVID environment, the “methodical” conglomerate intends to release blockbusters to movie theaters first, but added that a new franchise, often leading to theme-park rides and so forth, can be launched via Disney+ streaming only, on a platform that has seen subscription price increases.
Back in March, Chapek caved to pressure from leftists and expressed opposition to the Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. As signed into law by Gov. DeSantis, the legislation which has been distorted as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, among other things bans sexual orientation and gender identity classroom material in grades K-3.
Disney employees vented their outrage on social media when the company did not denounce the then-proposed legislation immediately. A nationwide employee walkout also occurred around this time.
For whatever reason, Disney seems to have a cohort at the executive level very interested in pushing gender ideology in content.
Disney bows to Middle East censors over same-sex kiss, after picking fight with DeSantis over Fla. law https://t.co/tlDzAipS2o pic.twitter.com/wgwzrdY5LZ
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 6, 2022
To level the playing field with all other state businesses, the Florida legislature, under DeSantis’ leadership, passed a law that revoked the special self-governing, self-taxing status of Orlando-based Disney World, effective June 1, 2023.
Chapek spewed a lot of corporate mumbo-jumbo when THR recalled his staff apology over an issue that caused him “a lot of problems.”
THR then asked, “Do you feel that you have won back the staff’s trust?”
Chapek responded in this long-winded way, which seems to suggest continued disregard for Disney’s traditional audience or the problems that Disney itself created in the context of divisive activism:
These are complex social issues where we absolutely, positively want to represent the needs and the expectations of our cast members, but we also realize that sometimes in such a divided world, there’s not alignment between what possibly large constituencies of our guest and consumer base are looking for in terms of the kind of content that they want to show their kids at this particular time.
What we try to do is be everything to everybody. That tends to be very difficult because we’re the Walt Disney Company. When you’re a lightning rod for clicks and for political podium speeches, the essence of our brand can be misappropriated or misused to try to fit the needs of any one particular group’s agenda. We want to rise above that. We believe Disney is a place where people can come together with shared values of what an optimistic and ideal future can be. We certainly don’t want to get caught up in any political subterfuge, but at the same time we also realize that we want to represent a brighter tomorrow for families of all types, regardless of how they define themselves.
Chapek went to claim that his company is no Mickey Mouse operation, as it were:
We are a very cohesive, big, happy family. I think our staff saw how I stood firm during the ultimate barrage of attacks from certain political constituencies and, frankly, I think it was much stronger and much longer and much harder than they ever could have imagined and we stood our ground. So I think it’s safe to say that actions speak louder than words, and they saw resiliency and consistency no matter how strong the attacks.
As BPR previously reported, the parental rights bill was signed into law on March 28. Disney was quick to issue a statement proclaiming that it “should never have passed” and said that it should be immediately repealed. Chapek vowed to halt all of Disney’s political donations in Florida and increase its support for advocacy groups “to combat similar legislation in other states.”
Gov. DeSantis was highly critical of Disney for its public posturing to override the legislation.
Woke Disney to drop 'racist' Splash Mountain name from attraction, showcase first black princess https://t.co/gmBj0EQP9S
— michelekirkBPR (@michelekirkBPR) July 3, 2022
Separately, Chapek’s predecessor Bob Iger — who also spoke out against the parental rights law — has reportedly revealed at a recent conference, that Disney considered buying Twitter, but hesitated for the same or similar reason that has prompted the legal dispute between the social media network and would-be billionaire buyer Elon Musk.
According to Gizmodo, Disney regarded Twitter in 2016 as a potential distribution platform: “However, the level of ‘nastiness’ on Twitter did not mesh well with the entertainment company’s squeaky-clean brand, and acquiring it seemed like more trouble than it was worth. Iger dropped a new nugget of information he hadn’t spoken about before, one that quickly caught the attention of the richest man in the world: bots.”
Iger claimed that “a substantial portion” of the Twitter users “were not real.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 8, 2022
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