Chapek’s Current Fiasco Is A “Self-Inflicted Wound”, According to Former Disney Execs.

Bob Chapek
Credit: Disney

It has been a tough couple of weeks for Disney CEO Bob Chapek. The embattled Chapek has been in hot water with not only the public, but also with thousands of people who work for the Walt Disney Company. This includes those who work at Pixar. The whole ordeal started when Chapek refused to let Disney speak out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill. He finally conceded, but Disney’s original statement said nothing. It has not gotten better, no matter how hard Chapek has tried. It seems that no matter what he says or what it does, the damage has been done.

Mickey and Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

Several former Disney executives spoke to The Wrap on the condition of anonymity, and one of them admitted to being angry about what has happened at Disney. Others say that Chapek does not understand the company he is running or the people who are working for him. Per The Wrap:

“It’s 100% a self-inflicted wound,” said one former top Disney executive who declined to be identified but confessed to being “angry” at how the issue played out. Chapek is “missing everything – forget about whether he cares about the issue. He doesn’t understand all his constituencies, the company he supposedly runs.”

A second former Disney executive observed that Chapek seems to want to dictate decisions rather than listen and then respond. “Running Disney is like running a small nation state,” this executive said. “It requires so many different skill sets independent of running a successful entertainment multinational, including complicated politics and international diplomacy.”

An individual with knowledge of former CEO Bob Iger’s thinking said he was sad and dismayed at how the company’s response played out, and regarded the issue as one of human rights rather than politics.

What’s noteworthy is how Chapek — who has been CEO for slightly more than two years (with Iger as chairman for much of 2020) — appears to be disconnected from some of Disney’s core values, the individual said. “This is deeply personal and emotional,” the second former exec said, noting that Chapek “has revealed that he is out of touch and out of step with many employees inside the company and many artists and creatives who work with the company.”
Bob Chapek

Credit: CNBC.com

Many Disney employees and fans have taken to social media to express their anger and frustration. Some of those criticizing the company have a higher profile than others. Abigail Disney has been putting the company on blast for years, and this was just one more issue she had with the company her family started.

The worst kind of PR bungle is the one where everyone ends up angry at you. Chapel tried to make nice with conservatives, then he tried to thread the needle with LGBTQ+ folks which only aggravated them because it was so patently insincere so now there’s a genuine apology which

Gets him precisely the reaction he was trying to avoid: being dismissed by the governor whose ass he was kissing Ad “woke”. Word to the wise: wokeness is a conservative trap. First, believe something. Commit to it. Then do the things your belief calls you to do and let them

Emmy-winning talk show host John Oliver has also recently joined the fray. Oliver — who hosts the show Last Week Tonight With John Oliver — called Disney “morally bankrupt.” Oliver worked with Disney on the live-action remake of The Lion King, where he voiced Zazu. Oliver also took issue with Chapek saying that the most important thing the company could do was keep creating content. He said it was “obviously nonsense.”

John Oliver

Credit: HBO/Disney

Chapek also tried to donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign on behalf of The Walt Disney Company, but the HRC rejected the offer. The Human Rights Campaign said that Disney needs to be more active in fighting for the rights of its employees, instead of just saying it will. Following that — along with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis calling the company “woke” — Chapek announced that Disney would be pausing all political donations in Florida.

Credit: Office of the Governor

Ever since Chapek took over as CEO in 2020, fans have been begging for former CEO Bob Iger to return. Over 100,000 people have even signed an online petition, asking for Chapek to be fired. Bob Iger has spoken out against the Parental Rights in Education Bill, and Chapek’s latest issues have fans begging Iger to return with even more fervor.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!