In recent years, the Walt Disney Co. has become embroiled in America’s culture war. As I have reported, the company has pushed critical race theory in its employee training programs and radical gender ideology in its children’s programming.
Last week, Disney’s board of directors fired CEO Bob Chapek, who lost a high-profile fight with Governor Ron DeSantis regarding legislation restricting radical gender theory in schools, and brought back former CEO Bob Iger to right the ship.
I have obtained exclusive video of Iger’s first townhall meeting with Disney employees, in which he retreats from the company’s most controversial political positions and moves toward neutrality in the culture war.
In response to an audience question about the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, Iger said the company would still promote “inclusion,” but signaled that he would adopt a different posture than his processor and suggested that the company will “listen to [its] audience” and “have respect for the people that [it’s] serving.”
Iger also suggested that the company made a mistake in its fight against Governor DeSantis, which resulted in the state legislature stripping Disney of its special administrative status. “I was sorry to see us dragged into that battle,” he said. “The State of Florida has been important to us for a long time. And we have been very important to the State of Florida. That is something I’m extremely mindful of and will articulate if I get the chance.”
Finally, in response to the suggestion that “many cast members had wished that Disney stayed out of politics,” Iger expressed regret. “Do I like the company being embroiled in controversy? Of course not,” he said. “It can be distracting, and it can have a negative impact on the company. And to the extent that I can work to kind of quiet things down, I’m going to do that.”
This is an important shift. Iger is signaling that Disney is moderating its position in the culture war. As I have been saying for months, the conservative strategy was to damage Disney’s brand, make the company pay a political price, and force the company to declare neutrality.
So far, it appears that the strategy is working.