A shareholder at Walt Disney’s shareholder meeting on Monday asked CEO Bob Iger to remove politics from the company’s entertainment content and go back to providing the kind of child-friendly programs that made its founder famous.
“Please turn Disney back to the apolitical fun place that it used to be,” one shareholder implored Iger.
Iger responding by agreeing that Disney’s content “should” be entertainment-driven, not agenda-driven, Florida Politics reports:
“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.”
But, Iger then nuanced his answer by saying that Disney is also committed to “telling stories that reflect the world around us.”
The Disney CEO went on to claim that one of the company’s missions is “to have a positive impact on the world.”
“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?” another shareholder asked.
Iger said that Disney will continue to “weigh in” on political issues whenever it considers them relevant to their business and employees:
“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 also addressed Disney’s attacks on Florida’s new law prohibiting schools from teaching age-inappropriate content, such as sexual orientation and gender identity ideology to children in kindergarten through third grade.
Disney inserted began condemning the law only after its employees announced a walk-out to pressure it to do so, the Associated Press reports:
“Iger acknowledged that there may have been some missteps in how Disney initially responded to the Florida legislation — the company took its time in speaking out against it publicly, and only after Disney employees exerted internal pressure. But he said the company, which is based in Burbank, California, had a right to free speech, just as individuals do.”
Disney has been facing increasing criticism over the mature natural of its content.
On Monday, the Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) announced it has more than ten thousand signatures on a petition calling on Disney’s Board of Directors to remove sexually-themed content targeted at children.
In a statement, PTC Vice President Melissa Henson detailed some of the sexualized content children have been exposed to by watching Disney:
“A young female character performs a sex act on herself. A teacher and her minor student have an illicit, and illegal, sexual relationship that is romanticized. A female teen finds out her dad is the antichrist. All of these are scenes and/or themes from programs that currently air on Disney-owned platforms. All are targeted towards our youth.”
“Disney has broken faith with America’s families by enabling sexualized and exploitative content on its Hulu streaming platform like PEN15 and A Teacher, and on the FX and FXX cable channels with Little Demon. It has broken promises to America’s families by adding R-rated content to the Disney+ streaming platform. And even Disney executives have been publicly exposed, openly admitting to their overt efforts to insert sexual themes into child-targeted programming.”
“The Disney Board of Directors cannot stand idly by while the company produces and makes available sexually themed content targeted to children,” Henson said.
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