It was surreal to watch Prince Harry pitch voice over work for Meghan to then Disney CEO Bob Iger. Meghan got her voice over in the infamous Elephant documentary. Regardless of how interesting the documentary was and how fast her PR team spun it, Meghan Markle can’t even read with flourish. It was amusing to see the end of Iger’s CEO position (his choice or no) come on the heels of Elephant.
What makes the story even more tantalizing is that “super feminist” Meghan wanted to meet and work with Iger. At the time Harry pitched his wife’s alleged skills, Iger, his predecessor Michael Eisner, and Walt Disney Company were under a lawsuit. Actress Paz de la Huerta alleged the CEO’s and the Disney company created an environment enabling prolific rapist Harvey Weinstein.
The lawsuit didn’t curb the disturbing actions of Disney and its employees. In March Florida, detectives conducted a sting operation targeting child sexual predators and prostitution. Disney employees were among the 108 arrested. From a hotel lifeguard through Tomorrowland to IT workers, the self-proclaimed Happiest Place on Earth became the creepiest place on earth.
Ten days after the arrests, Florida enacted the “Parental Rights in Education” bill. Though dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that’s not what it is. The “Parental Rights In Education” bill makes it illegal for children kindergarten to third grade to be exposed to sex education. It doesn’t target just homosexuality as the media would have you believe. It includes sexual content of any nature. That fact eludes those claiming the bill is an attack on LGBTQ.
Current Disney CEO, Bob Chapek, said Disney “unequivocally” stands with LGBTQ. That’s interesting considering Disney cruises go to multiple countries who’ve outlawed homosexuality and often impose the death penalty if caught. Shouldn’t Chapek end those cruise destinations in support of LGBTQ?
Chapek, laboring under the misconception Disney was untouchable, and pressured by the minority, came out swinging against the bill. Despite their lineage of alleged sexual misconduct, Chapek vowed to take on Florida politics in general and Governor Ron DeSantis in particular. It was a classic cut off your nose to spite your face move.
Until yesterday, Disney operated under unique circumstances. The state of Florida gave them tax breaks and special self-governing allowances. Knowing this, Chapek continued his war of words against DeSantis. By the time he figured out it would be wise to shut up and stay out of politics, it was too late. The Florida legislature stripped Disney’s special privileges.
Amidst the drama, subscribers to Disney Plus streaming service canceled. Stock in Disney plunged 33% and a high number of vacationers cancelled. All of this plays out as Johnny Depp battles for his reputation in a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard. When Depp was accused of domestic violence, Disney dropped him. A move that was premature and a violation of the American mantra, “innocent until proven guilty.” Revelations now paint heard as the violent one. Once again, Disney responded without facts. That seems to be their anthem. If Depp wins the current suit, it will be interesting to see if he goes after Disney next. After all, they cost him wages on a false accusation. That won’t go over well legally.
Walt Disney created Disney to cater to families, not political ideologies. It is a swipe at his legacy to throw his masterpiece in a raging political storm. As summer approaches, it’s vital Disney return to its roots to win back the canceled vacations. They should replace Chapek with an anti-political CEO with fierce leadership skills. Will they do it? Who can free Disney from the mousetrap they caught themselves in?