Returning Disney CEO Plans to ‘Quiet Down’ Culture-War Controversies, Insists Woke Themes ‘Not Political’

Disney’s CEO said he plans to quell the company’s culture-war embroilments in the next phase of his leadership but insisted that the intensifying woke themes in its content are not political.

Bob Iger came out of retirement last week to resume his old role as head of the corporation, replacing Bob Chapek after a short tenure. He first occupied the position between 2005 and February 2020.

“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. And the extent that I can work to quiet things down, I’m going to do that,” Iger said at his first town hall with employees since taking the helm again, according to a video of the event obtained by Christopher Rufo.

However, Iger did not commit to keeping progressive elements out of children’s movies and shows, KOMO News reported. Instead, he doubled down that “inclusion” and “tolerance” of the LGBT community will continue to be incorporated into Disney products.

“One of the core values of our storytelling is inclusion and acceptance and tolerance,” Iger said. “And we can’t lose that.”

While Chapek was still presiding over Disney, the company publicly opposed Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics, which prohibited the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity to young elementary-school students. Some employees marched out of the California headquarters and protested the law. The company’s C-suite faced intense pressure from staff members and investors to condemn the DeSantis administration, which approved the law. Disney published a statement in March demanding that the law be repealed.

In March, an executive producer at Disney said she was advancing a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” to insert queerness into children’s animated TV series. Latoya Raveneau said she was pleasantly surprised upon her hiring that Disney was accommodating to her pitches for LGBT content for younger audiences.

At the town hall, Iger suggested that the outrage among consumers over Disney’s left-leaning trajectory is unwarranted. What some people deem “political,” he suggested, is merely about the good of humanity.

“There’s a misperception about what politics is. I think that some of the subjects that have proven to be ‘controversial’ as it relates to Disney have been branded ‘political,’ and I don’t necessarily believe they are,” Iger said. “I don’t think when you are telling stories and attempting to be a good citizen of the world that that’s political. Just not how I view it.”

Disney’s latest animated film, Strange World, featuring the first openly gay protagonist in addition to other nods to identity politics, bombed at the box office. The flub is projected to lose $100 million during its theatrical run, Variety first reported. It was expected to generate $40 million in the five-day window before Thanksgiving but raked in only $18.8 million.

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