After actively antagonizing parents and conservatives, Disney is scrambling to recover the public’s goodwill by canning CEO Bob Chapek and welcoming back former CEO Bob Iger. The surprise move to reinstate 71-year-old Iger after two years of Chapek’s reign follows a flailing quarterly earnings report. But Disney will have to chuck more than its chief executive into the reject pile to regain the trust of parents put off by the company’s targeting of children with its sexual agenda.
Earlier this month, Disney posted profit and revenue that came in below projections for its fourth fiscal quarter, causing shares to hit a new 52-week low. While the company tried to emphasize growth on its streaming platform, Disney Plus, CNBC noted that “Disney’s streaming services lost $1.47 billion last quarter, more than double the unit’s loss from a year prior.” Later that week, a memo from Chapek revealed plans for a hiring freeze and layoffs. Disney stock is down 40 percent this year alone and shrank by nearly a third under Chapek.
Why might Disney be struggling? Maybe it’s because the supposedly “family-friendly” entertainment behemoth has steadily been feeding a left-wing sexual agenda to children — and bragging about it.
In March, Disney fought against a Florida law barring classroom instruction about sexual ideology in kindergarten through third grade, after the CEO was chastened by LGBT extremists for not speaking up soon or strongly enough. Chapek led the company in vowing to get rid of the law, which even a majority of Democrat voters supported.
Around the same time, in discussions obtained by investigative journalist Chris Rufo, Disney employees were caught openly bragging about filling children’s movies with sexual propaganda.
“Our leadership over there has been so welcoming to my, like, not-at-all-secret gay agenda,” boasted Latoya Raveneau, an executive producer for Disney Television Animation. “I was just, wherever I could, just basically adding queerness. … No one would stop me and no one was trying to stop me.”
Another Disney employee advertised a “tracker” he uses to meet self-imposed quotas for LGBT characters in Disney’s “Moon Girl” TV series. President of Disney General Entertainment Karey Burke reportedly signaled a goal that at least 50 percent of Disney characters will be LGBT or racial minorities by the year’s end.
After those leaks, a Trafalgar Group/Convention of States Action poll found that 68 percent of Americans said they were “less likely” to do business with Disney as a result.
That pervasive agenda has been evident from movies like “Lightyear” to shows like “Baymax.” Last year, Walt Disney World also ditched the phrase “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” from its iconic fireworks show for not being “inclusive” enough. Speaking of “inclusion,” Disney segregated employees into “affinity groups” based on their race, as Rufo reported last year.
Disney waded further into politics when, after the Supreme Court released its Dobbs decision, it offered to pay for female employees to go out of state to kill their unborn children while Disney subsidiary Hulu cut maternity leave.
And all of that is on top of Disney’s sustained kowtowing to the Chinese Communist Party. In its live-action “Mulan” in 2020, the company straight-up thanked the propaganda department of the Chinese region where Muslim Uighurs are being forced into deadly “reeducation” camps. Much of Disney’s coziness with the communist regime in China happened under Iger’s direction. In 2019, Iger refused to condemn the CCP’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, and Disney has repeatedly bent the knee to Chinese censors in its filmmaking.
Disney has been headed toward its current problematic position for years. Swapping Chapek for Iger isn’t enough to reverse course. Iger was the one who said, in a video summarized by Rufo, that “the company ‘should be taking a stand’ on political controversies and will no longer ‘shy away from politics’ in the future.” Iger has also spoken up about former President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, illegal immigration, and a Georgia law limiting abortion, as my colleague Emily Jashinsky pointed out. And that was all the way back in 2019.
Iger actually blasted Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” law before Chapek did! And, as Vogue noted in a 2018 feature on Iger, under Iger’s leadership, “Disney had sent a warning to Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal, that it would no longer do business in the state” if he signed a law protecting the religious freedom of business owners to refuse to provide services that violate their consciences. The only reason Iger didn’t spur a fight then like Chapek’s with DeSantis is that Deal gutlessly caved to pressure from groups like Disney and vetoed the bill.
If Disney wants to reverse its decline into a child-grooming, genocide-tolerating propaganda machine, the company will need to ditch more than Bob Chapek. Bob Iger hasn’t signaled that he’ll appease Chinese communists or sexually confused activists any less than his successor-turned-predecessor, even though corporate media are doing their best to use Chapek as a whipping boy for Disney’s blunders so the wokeness can continue unencumbered under Iger.
Just swapping desk nameplates in the Disney executive suite isn’t enough. Disney should fire the employees who are openly bragging about sexualizing children’s movies, listen to parents’ concerns and act on them, get out of bed with the CCP, and start making movies that are designed to innocently entertain instead of propagandize. Iger’s reputation might salvage Disney’s bottom line for the time being, but without a much deeper clean, the Mouse infestation is only going to get worse.
Elle Purnell is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. Follow her work on Twitter @_etreynolds.
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