Disney’s push towards wokeness in films like “Lightyear” resulted in significant financial losses and staff layoffs.
The illustrious days of the House of Mouse have all but faded into obscurity, with the once radiant sunrise over Disney now mired in corporate chaos, public outrage, and financial disarray.
The headlines of 2023 sketch a dismal caricature of the Disney we once knew, riddled with turmoil and backlash.
Disney leaped into 2023 with grand aspirations, trumpeting a host of innovative projects and a renewed dedication to ‘wokeness’, diversity, and inclusivity.
They were hurtling, or should I say ‘Lightyear’ing (forgive the pun), towards a future starkly at odds with Walt Disney’s famous pronouncement on Disneyland’s opening day, July 17, 1955: “To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Disneyland is your land.”
As a poignant footnote, last July, Disneyland thought it prudent to scrap Walt’s timeless speech, a speech that has reverberated through the Anaheim, Calif., theme park for the past 67 years.
Contentious Company Decisions
Flash forward to 2023, and with that cherished ethos callously laid to rest, Disney now proceeds to make a string of contentious company decisions that have ignited dissatisfaction, division, and job terminations.
Their actions have stirred the pot, and I assure you, the resulting brew is nothing short of a bitter and borderline disaster.
Let’s delve into one of these missteps – the ill-conceived reboot of the adored animated series, “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.” Here, a character is deplorably accused of suffering from ‘white fragility.’
CJ Pearson of the Daily Mail opines, “The series is not just political. It’s radically so – demonizing our police, denigrating white folks, and perpetuating leftist narratives that one might expect from the likes of Joy-Ann Reid on MSNBC, not Disney+.”
In another audacious move, Disney revamped the much-cherished classic “The Little Mermaid” into what critics have derisively termed a ‘woke-athon’, complete with a drag queen witch character. Despite amassing $187 million domestically and an additional $141 million abroad, the film is projected to hemorrhage a staggering $100 to $400 million.
The brazen Disney approach to gay themes in their animations is now as commonplace as slathering mustard on a hotdog. Their recent feature, “Baymax!”, depicted a transgender man nonchalantly purchasing menstrual pads at a supermarket.
Disney’s “Strange World”, riddled with a gay-themed narrative, suffered a backlash and a purported loss of $100 million.
The sun, it seems, is setting on Disney, and I must say, it’s an unsettling sight.
A Rotten Tomatoes critic grumbles,: ‘If I want to teach my children about sex and or sexual preferences at 7 and 8 I would do it in my home. I don’t need a Disney movie to help me out with it. STOP making everything sexual, its unbelievable.’
Then there’s the debacle that is “Lightyear,” flayed by critics for its brazen ‘wokeness’, a move that allegedly carved a gaping $258 million hole in Disney’s coffers.
Angus MacLane, the director of “Lightyear”, and its producer, Galyn Susman, were handed their marching orders this June. Their gaffe? A misguided attempt to inject a same-sex smooch into the storyline.
Yet the financial hiccups aren’t just restricted to these cinematic disasters.
Financial Disarray Amid Controversial Themes
In a shocking turn of events, Disney Plus bled four million subscribers in the second quarter of 2023, triggering a 9% plummet in Disney’s stocks. This was a knockout blow to a company riding high on the wave of its burgeoning streaming services.
The stock price of this entertainment titan took a tumble down to a dismal $92, threatening to evaporate a whopping $15 billion from Disney’s market value.
As if these financial setbacks weren’t enough, Disney decided to twist the knife a little further.
In April, the company announced plans to axe thousands of jobs. Bob Iger, the CEO, confirmed reports that as many as seven thousand employees would be shown the door. If this isn’t a slap in the face to the thousands who have dedicated their careers to this once-great company, I don’t know what is.
Even Disneyland, Disney’s crown jewel, wasn’t spared from the whirlwind of controversies.
Their decision to cast a male transvestite as a Fairy Godmother-in-training incited a furor. Even their inaugural Pride Night, under the banner of inclusivity, was scrutinized and shamed.
Ironically, Disney’s earnest attempts to fuel discourse on diversity and inclusion sparked a significant backlash from sections of their fan base and even their employees. Those with conservative leanings felt their non-woke perspectives were being suffocated, thereby stoking the fires of internal discord.
The entertainment titan took a severe blow when Wolfe Research demoted Disney’s shares due to “cognitive dissonance,” plunging the company deeper into financial despair.
John Nolte of Breitbart News couldn’t resist a jab, posing the question, “How can Disney’ reach profitability’ when it’s become the equivalent of a man with no pants driving a van around an elementary school?”
Both fans and employees watched on, aghast, as the once invincible behemoth of entertainment grappled with escalating crises.
Adding salt to their wounds, Disney announced the abrupt closure of its outrageously overpriced Star Wars hotel in the same month.
Promising an immersive Star Wars experience, the extravagant ‘Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser’ resort had a starting rate of $5,000 for a measly two-night stay.
A Reddit user quipped,: “Hmmmm…so you mean to tell me that Disney opened a crappy, cinder-block hotel filled with bad cosplay, cheap sets, silly acting theatre, basic arcade games, cell-like beds, and bland space windows, charged $5,000+ for a two-night stay…and somehow, this did not attract the average person into purchasing said experience enough to keep it afloat?”
Political Tensions with Florida’s Governor
And then, we have the Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, the proverbial thorn in Disney’s side. The feud was sparked when the California-headquartered Disney took it upon itself to meddle in the politics of the Sunshine State by opposing Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act.
As retribution, DeSantis hit back by signing a bill that effectively voided the state’s 30-year Reedy Creek Development Agreement with Disney. The result? The appointment of a new board of supervisors and Disney having to cough up property taxes just like any other Floridian business.
Back in the day, Disney had grand designs for a futuristic city teeming with avant-garde urban planning and a transit system, justifying its demand for autonomy.
However, those grand visions for a city of tomorrow have yet to see the light of day. Instead, it morphed into a second theme park that threw open its doors in 1982.
Political tensions escalated further when Disney decided to pull the plug on a proposed $1 billion Orlando campus, which would have welcomed 2,000 jobs to the state.
In classic DeSantis fashion, he hit back, appointing Glen Gilzean as an administrator equipped with wide-ranging powers to cause pandemonium within the theme park. Talk about a cat among the pigeons!
Now, Gilzean, a firm ally of DeSantis, holds the reins of power that can stop Disney rides in their tracks and impose steep fines for code violations. Moreover, he’s armed with the authority to hire enforcement officers who will report directly to him.
As Rick Foglesong, a Walt Disney World historian, mused to The Orlando Sentinel, “You’d think [Disney] would see a threat here.” But it seems Disney’s vision has become as skewed as its business decisions.
In May, Disney CEO Bob Iger whined to shareholders about Florida’s supposed unfairness, asking, “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes or not?”
Really? Disney dares to provoke a fight with Florida and then whimper about the foul play when the Sunshine State retaliates.
How often have we witnessed this before? The Radical Rainbow Mafia is a prime case in point.
They relentlessly force-feed their ideology to Americans (including their children) yet shriek about victimhood, bullying, and hate-mongering at the slightest pushback. It’s all a gross, manipulative farce.
The Ramifications of Disney’s Decisions
Despite the swirl of controversies and financial debacles, Disney has been unflinching in its newfangled direction. The director of Space Jam, who was also the architect behind Disney’s ‘woke’ content, gleefully reveled in the controversy he was stirring.
However, many onlookers weren’t as enthused, arguing that Disney was veering away from Walt Disney’s foundational vision.
The removal of Walt Disney’s iconic speech from Disneyland’s anniversary celebration, coupled with the elimination of the cherished “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” song from the Disneyland parade (because it is tied to the 1946 film “Song of the South”) was perceived by many as a symbolic gesture of Disney’s pivot from its classic nostalgia to its modern, contentious trajectory.
Once a colossus in the entertainment realm, Disney is now teetering precariously on the edge.
The ramifications of its decisions reverberated far and wide, impacting not only its employees but its global audience as well.
Perhaps this tumultuous tale should be a stark reminder to Disney’s animators that outlandish, debauched, and deviant characters are only amusing when an Acme anvil comes crashing onto their thick skulls.
A dose of old-school slapstick comedy could be just what the doctor ordered in these trying times.