[guest post by JVW]
Here’s what I wrote back in March:
Disney, which was slow to extricate itself from business operations in Russia even after the invasion of Ukraine and still to this very day happily does business in China, even to the degree of self-censoring so as not to offend the Chinese Communist Party, is very — very, I tells ya! — concerned about Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education bill, uncritically adopting the left-wing narrative that it is reflexively anti-gay though in reality it merely places strict limits on classroom discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity for children younger than fourth grade. Disney CEO Bob Chapek called Sunshine State Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday to express his concern and later claimed that the governor had agreed to a follow-up conversation, though DeSantis has assured supporters that he won’t alter his beliefs based upon “the musings of woke corporations.”
I hope that Gov. DeSantis and Mr. Chapek do meet. As Mr. Chapek airs his concerns and those of his apparently hyper-woke workforce, perhaps the governor might remind the CEO of Disney’s entanglements with repressive dictatorships, and — speaking of repressive dictatorships — ask if company shareholders would prefer Disney to move more of its operations to California, a state which capriciously shut-down Disney’s theme parks for over a year during the height of the pandemic while Disney’s Florida theme park were mostly back up and running nine months earlier. It’s understandable that Disney would be sympathetic to the LBGTQ agenda — other than girls aged 3-12 there’s probably no more loyal market demographic for their product than gay men — but Mr. Chapek needs to understand that there are going to be definite limits to the efficacy of his company’s obnoxious virtue signaling.
I guess that the meeting wasn’t even necessary. Less than two weeks after Gov. DeSantis’s smashing reelection victory, Disney appears to have thrown in the towel:
After less that two years in retirement, Bob Iger has returned as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company
The board just sent out a notice that Bob I. is back and recently re-upped Bob Chapek is out.
[. . .]
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced today that Robert A. Iger is returning to lead Disney as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Iger, who spent more than four decades at the Company, including 15 years as its CEO, has agreed to serve as Disney’s CEO for two years, with a mandate from the Board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board in developing a successor to lead the Company at the completion of his term. Mr. Iger succeeds Bob Chapek, who has stepped down from his position.
“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Arnold, Chairman of the Board. “The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period.”
The GOP grossly underwhelmed in the midterm elections, but woke politics also didn’t do particularly well at the ballot box. Maybe mega corporations like Disney should pause to meditate on this, and perhaps determine that remaining neutral in the culture wars is a whole lot safer than embracing the Hollywood/Cambridge/Washington DC zeitgeist in order to score cheap victories with the kids.