During a recent segment of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the best-selling author and commentator reacted to footage of Disney CEO Bob Iger expressing regret that his company positioned itself against legislation in Florida that prohibits instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity for students below fourth grade. The move angered some consumers and resulted in Disney losing special regulatory and tax privileges in the Sunshine State.
Iger, who returned to his old post to replace his successor Bob Chapek last month, affirmed that “LGBTQ employees” at Disney are “very important to us” and argued that the controversial content was not truly “political” in nature. He nevertheless cited the “delicate balance” between telling stories and “listening” to audience members according to videos obtained by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo.
“He is reluctantly dissociating,” Shapiro commented. “This is why I say that I don’t trust Disney at all, because what he’s saying is, ‘It’s not really political. When we inject LGBTQ messaging into a children’s film, that’s not political, guys. That’s just the way the world works.’ And this is the left-wing echo-bubble that exists in Hollywood and in the media.”
Shapiro noted that he and his family once subscribed to the streaming service Disney+ and frequently visited Disneyland in California before the company became overtly politicized. Evidence suggests that some consumers agree: Among other concerning metrics, Disney reported a significant slowdown in new domestic subscriptions for Disney+ immediately after leaping into the fray of contentious social issues.
“You can see that he’s not particularly happy about having to acknowledge that Disney shouldn’t have gotten involved in Florida,” Shapiro continued, observing that the entertainment conglomerate’s stock price has dropped precipitously over the past year. “Reality is a two-by-four and it clocked Mickey Mouse across the head.”
Iger, who is reportedly more left-leaning in his personal politics than Chapek, admitted during the meeting that “it’s important to have respect for the people that you’re serving, that you’re trying to reach, and not have disdain for them.”
In an exclusive poll from The Daily Wire, 64% of Americans, including 62% of Democrats and 57% of independents, supported the Florida law that Disney publicly opposed.
“Seems as though the message is actually getting in. Again, it’s a message that Bob Iger and Disney don’t want to receive, but they are beginning to receive it. And the Left is going to continue to receive these messages,” Shapiro remarked. “If there are interest groups, if there are parents, if there are citizens who are willing to stand up and just say, ‘No, we are not going to consume the product that you are using in order to inject politics into my children. We’re just not going to do that.’ If you do that, corporations will listen.”
Consumer reactions against politicized content from Disney could also be occurring with respect to agenda-driven movie releases.
“Strange World,” an animated film featuring a same-sex teenage romance, fizzled at the box office during a Thanksgiving weekend opening. “Lightyear,” the latest installment in the highly acclaimed “Toy Story” franchise, featured a same-sex kiss and likewise struggled among moviegoers.
(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.)