Wow. Bob Chapek just can’t catch a break, but then again, many inside the Disney Kingdom of Fandom say the widely unpopular CEO has done that to himself. Some might say that the embattled head of The Walt Disney Company has been “put through the wringer,” but many Disney fans feel like he’s doing that to Disney’s fanbase on the daily.
So many Disney fans felt that the House of Mouse was headed in the right direction with former Disney CEO Bob Iger. After all, Iger was the leadership and enthusiasm behind the purchase of PIXAR, Marvel, Star Wars, and Lucasfilm, and under his administration, Disney began its streaming service, Disney+. Now, as Executive Chairman of the Board at Disney, Iger’s scope just isn’t broad enough–not for Disney fans who really liked Iger.
Currently, a petition that originated at Change.org is circulating online, calling for the removal of the controversial head of Mickey’s empire. It has close to 75,000 signatures now, and fans cite Chapek’s disregard for the magic and Walt’s memory, as well as his affinity for price hikes at Disney theme parks as a few of the reasons for their decisions to sign the petition. The petition has been shared thousands of times via social media.
(And let’s not even mention Chapek’s new plans for a high-stakes Disney wherein sports betting is a part of the revenue stream. Oh, and there was that thing about Chapek not showing up to the D23 Fan Convention, reportedly because he’s aware of fans’ dislike for him.)
Recently, Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy has also fallen from grace with many fans who feel it’s time for her to be pulled from Star Wars-themed films.
Just yesterday, we noticed a “news story” published online claiming that Disney had acquired “all of America’s children for $52 billion.” It was a head-scratching moment for sure. So, we decided to read on.
The story claims to have its origins in Burbank, California, and proposes that the House of Mouse had paid a hefty sum–to the tune of more than $50 billion–to take over every single child that lives within the borders of the United States. Calling the transaction a “landmark deal that had reportedly been in the works for months,” the post goes on to quote Chapek in his explanation of the deal.
“We’ve been fans of America’s youth for a long time now, and we’re excited to finally have them join our robust portfolio of properties,” Bob Chapek is quoted as saying, per the article posted at TheOnion.com.
We re-read the quote, scratched our heads some more, and then got a bit angry: really, Chapek? It’s not enough that through a series of events, including price hikes and other shenanigans that may quite literally make a Disney vacation nothing more than a wish upon a star for many, you’ve actually taken steps to preclude some from experiencing the parks, and now, you refer to children–the future of our country–as “properties?”
And then it becomes painfully clear: the post is a satirical one, laced with sarcasm and a clear dislike for Bob Chapek and many of the goings-on within the House of Mouse lately. And while we think that this post might have taken it a bit far, we’d be hard-pressed to find fault with the writer for his or her feelings about Disney’s dealings under the leadership of Bob #2, especially when Bob #1 was so good at what he did–so classy, so tactful, again, just so good at what he was in a position to do. The Walt Disney Company just didn’t realize how good they had it under Bob Iger. Perhaps neither did fans.
Because Disney’s scope and influence on pop culture, social media, politics, and the economy are so profound, it’s naive to think that a petition–even one with 75,000 signatures for its cause–would have any power over Chapek’s future. Sadly, until Chapek’s actions, decisions and perceived disregard for Walt and Walt’s fans affect the organization’s bottom line, it’s not probable that he will be removed from his post any time soon.
The good news is that Chapek hasn’t stooped to the level of making America’s youth “part of its robust portfolio,” but the less than good news is that at this time, no petition alone will install a new CEO for Mickey, his friends, his family and the parks.
Again, I wonder what Walt would think.