The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger doubled down on inclusivity and diversity during today’s shareholders’ meeting when asked about political stances and LGBTQIA+ people.
Disney’s denouncement of the Parental Rights in Education bill, a.k.a. the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was brought up many times directly and indirectly.
One shareholder asked if it was smart of Disney to take political stances that represent a small portion of Disney’s customer base. Iger said that there are gray issues that they have to determine wether or not they should weigh in on, but that when they take a position, there is a true reason why and it almost always directly affects their business or people. He noted that for decades, corporations in America have expressed themselves on various issues and that the country is better for it. He cited WWII and segregation and stated Disney is “guided by a sense of decency and respect.”
Another shareholder specifically expressed anger about Disney partnering with organizations such as the San Francisco Gay Choir, citing a satirical song they performed two years ago. They asked if it would be beneficial for Disney to “abandon” the LGBTQIA+ community.
Iger answered by talking about Disney’s 100 years of stories aimed to entertain all types of families all over the world and how proud he is of those stories. He noted that they have touched people’s hearts and infused them with good values about heroes, family, friendship, good triumphing over evil, and tomorrow always being brighter than today. Regarding recent criticism about “agenda-driven content,” he said their primary mission is to entertain and continue to have a positive impact on the world.
He said that Disney should be sensitive to the fact that parents have different levels of comfort with the content they create for their children. But that they strive to tell stories that reflect the world, and greater respect and acceptance, to carry on Walt Disney’s legacy of spreading joy for everyone.
The annual Out and Equal Workplace Summit, which boasts itself as the “largest LGBTQ+ conference in the world,” will be hosted this year at Walt Disney World Resort.