It’s no secret that the current CEO of The Walt Disney Company has long been met with loud criticism and very obvious dislike from many of the brand’s many fans.
And while it’s understandable that the installation of a new executive could create unrest and dissension in the proverbial ranks of millions of Mickey’s fans all the world over, the dislike for Bob Chapek seems to have grown exponentially since he first assumed the role in February 2020.
On social media platforms, various groups and accounts exist with the sole purpose of criticizing Chapek, sharing dislike for him, and airing complaints about him that often end with his removal as the solution.
So when a petition to remove Chapek from his role as CEO made its way to the platform at Change.org, it wasn’t a big surprise to most. The petition was begun by an anonymous person in Cary, North Carolina. When it was first started, it garnered only minimal support at best. But in October 2021, the petition was shared online and began to pick up steam as more and more Disney fans, disgruntled by Chapek’s actions, decisions, and words began to navigate to the Change.org site to sign. In just 24 hours, the petition had earned almost 30,000 signatures.
In only a matter of days, the petition had nearly 50,000 signatures.
But even some fans saw it as almost gimmicky, since Chapek’s role is a massive one for a massive company with a massive number of fans, and in order for any petition to carry weight and the possibility of bringing about change, there would need to be far more signatures before it is even noticed or taken seriously.
Former CEO Bob Iger said his (actual) final goodbyes to Disney on Friday, December 31. Iger had had an exit strategy of sorts since before 2018, but there was always a reason to stay longer, most recently as Chapek was installed just as the coronavirus pandemic began to wreak havoc on the world, calling for tough decisions to be made about whether to continue operating Disney Parks around the globe among others. Iger was asked to stay on as Executive Chairman at Disney, so he conceded.
Regarding Iger’s departure, fans again took to social media to post comments about their affinity for Iger, their dislike for Chapek, or both. On several Disney fan sites, users have posted comments, airing their dislike–and sometimes disgust–for Chapek and his decisions thus far. One user posted a comment, saying “They got rid of the wrong Bob,” while another comment read, “I get he wants to retire, but I wish and hope he would reconsider and come back; the current CEO is terrible.”
Yet another post online stated, “Iger has been one of the best to ever run Disney. Chapek is not the answer; he is more worried about money than anything.” An overwhelming number of fans feel that Walt himself would be devastated by many things Chapek has done and is doing.
Not everyone who dislikes Chapek’s way of doing things is a fan of Iger, but the general feeling about Iger has been much more positive than that about Mr. Chapek.
The online petition at Change.org has been gathering steam behind the scenes, but still hasn’t been able to gather the support needed to make any kind of an impact at this time. As of the time of this publication, the petition has a total of 88,110 signatures, the last one being added only a half-hour ago.
If there’s no real future in signing the petition, what’s the purpose of signing it, and why is it important to some people? It could be that Disney fans are hopeful the online proposal to remove Chapek will ultimately garner so much attention that Disney will be forced to stand up and take notice. Perhaps for some, simply signing the petition makes them feel they are having their say.
But regardless of their reasons, the truth remains that with a company as large and far-reaching as Disney, it will take exponentially more than some 88,000 signatures to even be on an executive radar, let alone to bring about change.
Do you think the petition is a gimmick? A waste of time and effort? Have you signed it, and if so, what are your reasons for choosing to sign?