Is Disney content too woke? CEO Bob Iger addresses criticism
Disney needs a win for Wall Street. Image via AP.

The Walt Disney Company
'We've recently gotten criticism ... for what some perceived to be agenda-driven content, and I'm sensitive to that, actually,' Disney CEO Bob Iger said Monday.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company will continue to speak out on political issues affecting employees although he acknowledged he is “sensitive” to criticism Disney’s content has an agenda.

Iger spoke candidly about a wide range of topics — including addressing Disney’s feud with Gov. Ron DeSantis — during Monday’s annual shareholders meeting.

The meet is a time where Disney shareholders can confront Iger with whatever issue is on their mind, leading to an enlightening dialogue between regular Disney fans and the head of a multibillion-dollar company.

“Is it wise for the company to take political positions to satisfy a very small portion of the people when our primary mission is entertainment, not education?” one shareholder asked.

Iger pointed to the long history of Corporate America speaking out on political issues, like during the Civil Rights Era. He said our country “is better off for that.”

“As long as I’m in the job, I’m going to continue to be guided by a sense of decency and respect and trust our instincts that when we do weigh in, we weigh in because the issue is truly relevant to our business and to the people that work for us,” Iger said.

One shareholder from New York made comments targeting people who identify as LGBTQ+ and complained about Disney getting involved with organizations, like the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

“Please turn Disney back to the apolitical fun place that it used to be,” the shareholder said.

Iger defended Disney’s content which he said celebrates heroes, good triumphing evil and friendship as well as the company’s focus of “being accessible to all people.”

But Iger acknowledged he is paying attention to criticism.

A rallying cry of conservatives has been calling Disney a “woke” corporation, heightened as DeSantis attacked Disney and Florida Republicans passed legislation to take over the Reedy Creek board that oversees Disney World’s government.

“We’ve recently gotten criticism, as you just expressed, for what some perceived to be agenda-driven content, and I’m sensitive to that actually,” Iger said. “I’m very serious about that. It should not be agenda-driven. It should be entertainment-driven. That should be the goal of all of our stories.”

Iger went on to say that content should be focused on children.

“While I know we’re just never going to please everyone all the time, we should be sensitive to the fact that parents have different levels of comfort with the content that is delivered to their children. I want parents to be able to trust the content that we’re creating for their children. We’re committed to delivering age-appropriate content for family audiences while also telling stories that reflect the world around us.”

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


  • Strip Mall Pill Mill Bill

    April 3, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    Anything that’s not neo nazi or Christian fascist..the GOP is gonna have a problem with it. So much for the party of The Constitution and all that. The right wing throws that out the window at their convenience. That’s all fine and dandy until they come after something that YOU like or enjoy.

    • Christopher S Davis

      April 5, 2023 at 8:50 am

      Agree. In the late 1900s, F word Jerry Falwell redefined F word Family such that, to party of Gross Old People, Family means Fascism. Their Focus on Fascism. It’s been apparent for at least 35 years, and it’s finally, unfortunately coming to yet another F word, Fruition. This raises a (book) burning question: Why is the GOP obsessed with F-ing the USA?

  • Ocean Joe

    April 3, 2023 at 5:35 pm

    Desantis and Mickey – same hairline, maybe it’s daddy issues.

    • JD

      April 4, 2023 at 7:41 am

      No disrespect intended; I like that one.

      It’s pretty “highbrow” Ocean Joe.

  • Dr Franklin Waters

    April 3, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    There’s no such thing as Wokeness.

    The Culture War is just something that Republicans have conjured up to rile up the tubes and distract them from the Class War.

    If you’re a Republican, and you’re NOT a millionaire, you’re a rube.

  • Eddie B

    April 3, 2023 at 10:45 pm

    If Disney wants to keep alienating half its consumers, then have at it. It’s an amazing sight to behold. All these once unsinkable franchises (Marvel, Star Wars) now torpedoed by politics.

    • Christopher S Davis

      April 5, 2023 at 8:46 am

      Which half of little kids got alienated by Disney, Marvel and Star Wars, and in what manner were they alienated? Please explain, because leaving people to infer meaning will typically see your meaning misinterpreted. So please clarify so we know what you are talking about, rather than self-inventing your missing meaning. Thank you!

  • JD

    April 4, 2023 at 7:49 am

    Who cares what a private company does? If companies are “people” then they are afforded of same rights, like the 1st amendment without being punished by the government.

    If someone doesn’t like a law and speaks out on it, they don’t take their “privilege” of a driver’s license away.

    That’s what was exactly done with the Reedy Creek debacle by MoRon Desantis and Randy Fine (and that dude has serious “Queen” vibes going on anyway – pretty sure there is some projectionism going on).

    The Cancel culture is about FREEDOM OF CHOICE with one’s pocketbook. The FLGOP and larger GOP’s Culture War being codified is about only THEIR choice. Therefore, it’s not about FREEDOM.

    That’s not democracy, it’s fascism

    “It’s not the heat. It’s the stupidity”

  • Christopher S Davis

    April 5, 2023 at 8:42 am

    Thursday last week Florida Governor Ron DeSantis brought his book burning tour to a gun store in metro Atlanta. The ATF had a routine inspection of that store earlier the same week. Due to the potential conflict between the ATF doing its job and Ron DeSantis having his right to burn book if he wants (barring it being the burn ban time of year), the ATF sent extra agents. They got in, did their job, they went home. They were gone before Gov Ron got to town. But oh, the outrage! Fleur D’uh Governor Rhonda’s Panties were crumpled like a piece of paper, all in a wad on the floor at Maga Lardo about systemic injustice, claiming the ATF raided that gun store and whining about how many agents came. Extra agents were on site so they could get their job done and be gone, but Woke Rhonda’s Panties and his buddy Marjorie Trailor and even the gun store owners got it on it albeit the owner’s comments were fairly reserved seeing as how he could actually face a consequence of whining about the ATF doing its job in a very accommodating manner. And the funny part, Rhonda and Marjorie both whined about the systemic injustice of an ATF raid [sic] without so much as a whiff of a hint of the irony of their statements personifying Woke, the awareness or perception of systemic injustice and inequality. Rhonda’s Panties should stick with his mouse drama. The national stage is beyond his understanding. Most people outside of Fleur D’uh are intelligent enough not to write a book that would be banned by your own book banning rules and then whine in a gun store of all places about the system injustice of the ATF doing its job for the taxpayers and getting itself out of town ASAP for YOU!

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