Emmy Griffin / January 4, 2023

Disney: Woke and Going Broke

The entertainment giant, with scales over its eyes, says the pandemic is to blame.

As 2022 drew to a close, the stock markets reported their worst year since the 2008 financial crisis. None knew this better than The Walt Disney Company, which ended its day Friday down 2.6% for the day and 45.7% for the year.

According to MarketWatch, this is the worst stock market performance for The Walt Disney Company since 1974. In the 1970s, the United States was dealing with pulling out of the Vietnam War, racial/social unrest, and a 14% inflation rate.

Though our country is facing some of the same issues that our parents and grandparents were dealing with in the mid ‘70s, The Walt Disney Company of today was projected to double its financial growth. Instead, it faced flop after flop this year with movies bringing in dismal returns. Walt Disney’s Tony Chambers, in charge of global theatrical distribution, blames COVID-19. Chambers explains: “The problem is nobody wants to go to the cinema, because they’ve been told that COVID is extremely dangerous. Although cinemas are open, the appetite for going to them isn’t really there.” Certainly the late pandemic remains a minor factor for some folks, but the launching of the Disney+ steaming app in 2019 should have helped ease that deficit.

If one looks at Disney’s overall Nasdaq price for the past five years, you do indeed see a drop in March of 2020, when the world shut down and the lockdowns went into effect. However, Disney’s stocks made a decent recovery and were holding steady until February of 2022. Starting in March, the stock took a nose dive from which it has not recovered.

What happened in March? Well, Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek, dragged the company to a woke crusade against the state of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis’s Parental Rights in Education bill (an anti-grooming bill deceitfully dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by left-wing activists.) Chapek, along with The Walt Disney Company, was facing pressure from activist groups for not taking a stand against this bill, and Chapek caved to the radical mob.

Parents and many Disney employees were up in arms. Open letters were written and signed by employees calling for a politically neutral Disney. At the time of this uproar, this author predicted: “This radical stance on the 'transgender’ agenda is too much even for some Democrats. But keep going down this road, Disney. Hide in your bubble of elite privilege until there is virtually no one at your parks buying tickets and no one in the movie theaters buying your films. Going up against parents is the most effective self-sabotage this author can think of.”

As the year went on, Disney brass were caught on video calling to continue with their “not-at-all-secret gay agenda.” Soon followed movies and shows with openly LGBTQ+ characters in an attempt to normalize the agenda from which the Florida bill sought to protect children.

“Lightyear” featured the first same-sex kiss in a children’s movie. “Strange World” featured a gay main character. “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” has a bisexual character. (Interestingly enough, this cartoon was released in February of 2022, right when Disney’s stock started to plummet). Disney also launched a clothing line called “Disney Pride Collection” whose profits will go to LGBTQ+ organizations.

This is a company that is paid to entertain children. It was a trusted safe haven for parents starving for good children’s content. However, indoctrination of this sort is where the line has been drawn.

Disney has been losing money hand over fist as parents, done with the overt propaganda, have deemed Disney persona non grata. It all culminated with the firing of Bob Chapek in November of 2022 and reinstalling the more subtle Bob Iger — the previous CEO who coached Chapek for the job. Iger, however, will continue business as usual, just not as in-your-face as Chapek.

According to our Nate Jackson, “Iger was key to starting the company down the woke road when he took over in 2005.” Iger has been quoted saying: “One of the core values of our storytelling is inclusion and acceptance and tolerance, and we can’t lose that. We’re not going to make everyone happy all the time, and we’re not going to try to. We’re certainly not going to lessen our core values in order to make everyone happy all the time.”

So the change in guard does not necessarily mean that Disney is shying away from what got it in trouble with parents in the first place. This retreat to the more deft Iger, and the evident dent in Disney’s financial empire, can be counted as a win for now. However, until the company fully realizes that its wokeness is what sunk it (and not the pandemic), the slow ruination of the beloved franchise will continue.

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