Disney’s returning CEO Bob Iger has expressed regret the company got into a fight with Florida over the state’s anti-grooming law, telling Disney’s recent employee townhall meeting he was “sorry to see us dragged into that battle.”
It might be hard to accept Iger’s contrition at face value since he is directly contradicting himself. In statements he made earlier this year before returning to Disney, Iger publicly denounced Florida’s law and even chided corporate CEOs for not getting more involved in politics, telling CNN activism is important “even if voicing an opinion on those issues potentially puts some of your business in danger.”
At Monday’s townhall, Iger was asked about the business impact of Disney’s fight with Florida — specifically, the state’s decision to revoke Disney’s self-governing status in Orlando, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a privilege Disney enjoyed for nearly five decades.
“I have to get up to speed on that completely. Obviously I followed the news, that development occurred after I left the company. I was sorry to see us dragged into that battle,” Iger said. “What I can say is the state of Florida has been important to us for a long time, and we have been very important to the state of Florida.”
Iger expressed regret that Disney engaged in the high-profile fight against Gov. DeSantis, which resulted in the state legislature stripping the company of its special administrative status. "I was sorry to see us dragged into that battle." pic.twitter.com/889toYW5ye
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) November 29, 2022
In February, Iger tweeted his opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation, which the mainstream news media smeared as “Don’t Say Gay.” Iger claimed without evidence that the law would “put vulnerable, young LGBTQ people in jeopardy.”
I'm with the President on this! If passed, this bill will put vulnerable, young LGBTQ people in jeopardy. https://t.co/fJZBzre4yM
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) February 25, 2022
A month later, Iger sat down with CNN’s Chris Wallace for an interview in which he chided corporate CEOs for not taking public stances of hot-button political issues.
He said CEOs need to accept the responsibility “that they’re going to have to weigh in on issues, even if voicing an opinion on those issues potentially puts some of your business in danger.”
“Again, when you’re dealing with right and wrong, or when you’re dealing with something that does have a profound impact on your business, then I just think you have to do what is right and not worry about the potential backlash, to it.”
Though he didn’t mention him by name, Iger appeared to be referring to then-Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who had initially announced that Disney wouldn’t get involved in the debate over the Florida law, which forbade the teaching of sexuality and transgender ideology to kids in kindergarten through third grade.
But Chapek eventually reversed course, caving to a small group of activist employees who demanded Disney oppose the law.
Shares of the Walt Disney Co. plummeted late Tuesday and into early Wednesday to their lowest level in nearly a decade as concerns mount over the company’s profitability and wild spending habits on Disney+ and other streaming services. https://t.co/MiQhdlv97F
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 9, 2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) fought back, blasting Disney’s “woke hypocrisy,” and eventually revoking the company’s special privileges in Orlando.