Disney’s boomerang CEO Bob Iger wants the political issues and culture wars concerning The Walt Disney Company to quieten down.
During a Town Hall meeting with Cast Members on Monday, Iger said he wants to lead the effort to “quiet things down” related to the recent and numerous political and cultural controversies surrounding the Mouse House.
The so-called “boomerang” CEO met with Cast Members on Monday morning in a virtual meeting during which he fielded questions from multiple employees on topics such as the handling of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, the Genie+ and Lightning Lane offerings in the parks, Splash Mountain’s re-theming, the Park Pass Reservation System, and more.
A Cast Member submitted a question related to the company’s recent announcement that a hiring freeze would take place at Disney, and Iger reminded employees that he “just got here” in his current capacity as CEO.
“I don’t have any plans to not do that,” Iger responded. “That has to continue.”
Disney’s new leader was also asked whether the company would refrain from making political statements, and before he attempted to answer that question, he explained that the definition of political is not clear to everyone.
“I don’t think when you’re telling stories and trying to be a good citizen of the world, that that’s political. It’s not. I’m going to try quiet things down, but all subjects shouldn’t be political.”
Iger suggested that people have a misconception about Disney and that some issues “have been branded political,” but that he personally doesn’t agree that all of those so-called “political” issues are actually political.
“Some of the subjects that have proven to be controversial for Disney have been branded political,” Iger explained, “and I don’t necessarily believe they are.”
From issues over laws by Florida Republicans to the dissolution of Disney’s special district, and from Hulu’s political advertising policies to the company’s political donations and beyond, The Walt Disney Company has indeed been–to use Mr. Iger’s words–“embroiled in controversy,” leading many fans of the parks to vow they won’t return to the parks or support Disney further.
“Do I like the company being embroiled in controversy? Of course not. It can be distracting, and it can have a negative impact on the company,” he said. “And to the extent that I can work to kind of quiet things down, I’m going to do that.”
EXCLUSIVE: I have obtained video from returning Disney CEO Bob Iger's first town hall with employees, in which he signals that he will work to "quiet things down" politically and move toward neutrality in the culture war.https://t.co/ZBGdHhxFVS pic.twitter.com/ZbMCZN4MlG
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) November 29, 2022
When asked about the Florida Parental Rights in Education law, Iger responded very gingerly, saying, “When you tell stories, there’s a delicate balance. You’re talking to an audience, but it’s also important to listen to an audience. It’s important to have respect for the people you are serving, that you are trying to reach, and not have disdain from.”
So yes, it sounds like Iger hopes to see the political branding of regular issues and the culture war mindset surrounding Disney to relax, quieten down, find balance, and this writer, for one, can’t think of more melodious music to my ears.