Bob Chapek

Disney CEO Bob Chapek More Reluctant Than Iger to Take Political Stances, Insider Says

A Walt Disney Company insider tells The Hollywood Reporter that unlike his predecessor, Bob Iger, Chapek doesn’t wish for Disney to wade into political discussions.

Last week, former CEO Bob Iger weighed in on a political debate in Florida regarding the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in a tweet.

Twitter users pressured Iger to push this issue with Chapek, whose silence on the matter has been brought up by LGBTQ Disney fans and employees, calling Disney’s donations to the bill’s supporters into question.

The Florida bill is expected to pass the state senate and become law. It prohibits discussing sexuality and gender in classrooms and allows parents to sue individual teachers if they believe a teacher has violated the law.

Chapek keeps his politics more private than Iger, the democrat-turned-independent that preceded him as CEO.

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According to Latondra Newton (pictured above), Disney’s Chief Diversity Officer, Chapek will participate in a March 22 conversation with LGBTQ leaders at the Walt Disney Company. The meeting is entitled “Reimagine Tomorrow.”

A global summit of the same name will follow on April 13 and is “the first gathering of our employees worldwide to discuss our progress on and plans for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion at Disney.”

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Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Geoff Morrell stated, “Whatever Bob’s personal politics are, he’s not an activist and does not bring any partisan agenda to work. He sees himself first and foremost as the custodian of a unifying brand that for nearly a century has been bringing people together, and he is determined that Disney remain a place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

Some believe that refusing to say anything about a bill impacting many Florida-based employees could also be taken as a political statement — and the company’s subsequent efforts to bolster inclusion may seem hollow.

However, Morrell reports that Chapek rejects taking political stances because he “is determined that Disney remains a place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

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  1. I think this is the first time I agree with Chapek. Wow! Will wonders never cease. Politics have gotten way too toxic. Stay out of it and take everyones money! Although Disney has waaaay more left leaning decisions, the left still has to complain about anyone or anything that is not in complete lock step with them. I thought they were the more “tolerant” group. But I guess they are only tolerant if you agree with them on everything….that doesn’t sound like freedom of thought to me

  2. Not saying something is absolutely a political statement. Speaking out against this bill explicitly says you’re against it, and staying silent says “I may not like it, but I don’t have a problem with it.”

    That’s what Chapek is saying. He would do well to remember the words of Elie Weisel:
    “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”

  3. It is the job of the parents to discuss this. Not the schools. Schools are not parents. Parents are parents. This bill does nothing but put power in the hands of the parents.

  4. I would think donating to the bill would be a giant political statement! Ugh/so disappointed that they did that.

  5. What’s partisan about it? You’re either for inclusion or you’re not, political stance notwithstanding. If you support a bill that doesn’t embrace the same values your company stands for, then it’s pretty clear that you’re not a good fit for the company. If you don’t support it but lack the backbone to speak up because you care more about optics, then that strategy is already backfiring, because your silence can speak volumes.

  6. He’s a lousy custodian considering everything he touches leaves Disney more sh….well…you know.

  7. Now that is a good motivation not to say his feelings as we don’t know if any damage will be done to that respect so it’s a hard to choose to speak out or not as who knows what could happen.

  8. No, you don’t get to claim your non political, bow out of the debate AFTER donating a ton of money to get this anti-gay bill passed. Nice try Darth Chapek. If you’re a shareholder, please vote Chapek off the board by tomorrow. You only need to own 1 share in order to vote. Eisner was voted off back in the day and resigned as CEO shortly after.

  9. I never thought I’d say this but I actually agree with Chapek’s stance here. Politics do NOT belong in business or commerce, just like they don’t belong in school nor church. Political views are personal matters. I don’t give a hoot what views CEOs have. Just run the company and keep the consumer (Guest) top of mind – it’s that simple!

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