There are a lot of instances that you could point to when it comes to what made Bob Chapek an unpopular Disney CEO. For some, it was the insane price hikes on nearly everything, for others it was the reservation system and Genie+. Maybe you hated that Disney paused the sale of Annual Passes and Magic Keys. The list is a long one, and it’s most likely a combination of everything that made his time as CEO short and not all that sweet.
However, for many people, Chapek became irredeemable with his response to Florida’s controversial “Parental Rights In Education” bill, which is also called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his fellow Republicans first announced the bill, critics claimed that it unfairly targeted the LGBTQ+ community, and the bill was quickly condemned by actors, politicians, the , and thousands of people. However, Bob Chapek remained silent, even going so far as to call the bill “irrelevant” to Disney. He later spoke out against it, but that didn’t prevent massive Cast Member protests.
At his Town Hall meeting, newly reinstated CEO Bob Iger was asked about his stance on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. During his time as a regular citizen, Iger had denounced the bill, saying that it was a question of right and wrong, and said the bill would put LGBTQ+ youth at risk. However, he was a little more diplomatic when he answered the question this time.
“Our LBGTQ employees are important to us, that is a given. This company has been telling stories for years, and they’ve had positive impact on the world. One of our core values is inclusion, tolerance. I think about Black Panther and Coco. We change the world for the good, that must continue. Delicate – listen to the audience, have respect for those you serve and no disdain. We’re not going to make people happy all the time, and not lessen our values to make everyone happy all the time. It’s a balance. We do what we think is right. Not everybody will agree with you, that’s not the way the world works nowadays, but we have to try to do the right thing.”
While Iger’s response appears to be more of a non-answer, it’s not surprising considering the position he is now in. During his previous tenure as CEO, he was careful not to wade too deeply into the political arena. What will really be telling is how Iger interacts with Governor Ron DeSantis and what he does with the company’s planned Imagineer move to the Lake Nona campus in Florida.