Bob Iger’s return puts Disney on a collision course with Ron DeSantis

Former Disney boss Bob Iger has made an unexpected return to running the company, as former chief executive Bob Chapek has stepped down after a year marked by controversy and loss for the entertainment company. But his return could exacerbate the ongoing dispute between disney and Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis.

When Iger stepped down in 2020 after serving as its CEO for 15 years, Chapek took over as Disney’s new chief executive.

Former CEO and Chairman of The Walt Disney Company Robert Iger speaks onstage during Vox Media’s Code 2022 Conference – Day 2 on September 07, 2022 and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during the meeting annual meeting of Republican Jewish Coalition leaders in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 19, 2022.

For two years, the company had no reason to complain about its leadership, as Chapek successfully navigated Disney through the pandemic.

Under his command, the company’s streaming platform, Disney+, grew its audience to rival that of netflix and Huluand theme parks ramped up business after two years of COVID-19-related closures.

But last year Disney lost a lot of money and inserted itself in the middle of the so-called culture wars, which drew criticism from fans on both sides of the political spectrum.

Disney shares are down 41% this year, as of Nov. 9, even the company’s still wildly popular streaming platform Disney+ posted an operating loss of $1.47 billion. Shares in the company rose 9% on Monday after news of Iger’s return.

While some of the issues that led to Chapak’s eventual downfall were purely financial, the messy controversy the former CEO steered the company into last spring with the governor of Florida Ron DeSantis brought significant negative publicity to the company.

When DeSantis launched his controversial Parental Rights in Education bill, better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, banning discussing topics such as sexual orientation and gender identity. gender in classrooms, Disney was initially hesitant to take a stand on the law, despite concerns from staff at its Orlando theme park. Iger himself criticized the bill saying it endangered the rights of young people in the United States

“A lot of these issues aren’t necessarily political. It’s about good and bad,” Iger said in an interview with CNN+.

The outcry from LGBTQ+ rights activists, liberal fans, and staff eventually led Disney to speak out and condemn the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but that’s when the company has sparked rage from right-wing and conservative pundits, including FoxNews‘ host Tucker-Carlson.

DeSantiswhich has criticized Disney as a “woke” company, decided in April to strip it of the special tax status allowing the company to govern the area around the Orlando Walt Disney World theme park. The new law, which is expected to come into effect from 2023, will cost the company tens of millions of dollars each year.

Disney said Chapek, whose contract was extended earlier in 2022, has stepped down from his role. “We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including guiding the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” said Susan Arnold, disneyChairman of the Board of Directors, in a press release.

With Iger now back to hold the reins of the company, Disney can expect to be led over the next two years by a chief executive who has more than a decade of experience with the company. But the fight between the company and DeSantis could potentially escalate, as Iger has been outspoken in his condemnation of the governor’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Comments are closed.