Disney CEO responds to critics that studio is ‘too woke’

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Bob Chapek, who assumed the CEO title just weeks before the pandemic hit, oversees Disney’s sprawling entertainment empire.

Even though the business has weathered the global shutdown and is thriving again, Chapek apparently made one blunder after anothersuch as in the lawsuit wrangle with Scarlett Johanssen, to its focus on cost cutting, to the reference to Marvel Studios’ Shang Chi inasmuch as “interesting experience.”

The CEO also faced backlash within the company and via Marvel Boss Victoria Alonso Following Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill.

Throughout this time, the Disney Company and its affiliates have suffered their own setbacks, particularly in terms of producing content considered “woke”. Now, in a new interview, Chapek has answered those critics, where the company is at, and even answered the question of whether Disney has gotten “too woke.”

CEO Bob Chapek responds to Disney’s ‘woke’ critics

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By talking with the the wall street journalDisney CEO Bob Chapek was asked about the company’s attempts to reflect modern positions and the resulting backlash, as in the case of Light yearhomosexual kiss and the end of Pinocchio on Disney+.

When asked if Disney had become too politically correct or too woke, Chapek explained that reflecting “the rich and diverse world we live in” is another way to “‘reply to your audience:'”

“You know, I think the more complex something is, the more you really need to dig into the basics. And we want our content to reflect the rich and diverse world that we live in. And, again, I guess that’s another way of saying, ‘Responding to your audience.’ But the world is a rich and diverse place and we want our content to reflect that. And we’re so lucky to have the greatest content creators and they see it from the same way.”

He also admitted that his “good from a commercial point of view too” because Disney is attractive “to the widest possible audience:”

“But, I think it’s good also from a business perspective, because then you’re appealing to the widest possible audience and certainly we live in a world now where everything seems to be polarized.”

But aside from the business benefits, the CEO noted that visitors who view a Disney park castle don’t think, “‘I’m on one side of the political spectrum.’ Therefore, he believes Disney can bring people together through “diverse stories and diverse characters:”

“But I think we want Disney to stand for bringing people together. I always say, when someone walks down Main Street and you look at the castle, you don’t think, ‘I’m on one side of the political spectrum or The other.’ You have a common belief in all the wonderful aspects of what Disney is, and we want to use Disney to bring people together, and I think we will with diverse stories and diverse characters.

When asked what role he played in Disney’s orientation towards diversity or the inclusion of awakened elements, Chapek returned to the emphasis on “respond to the public” and “all audiences who love Disney:”

“Yeah, we talk a lot about shaping our content. And part of the push/pull of all these different forces. But in the end, we have to follow our North Star, which again tells stories and speaks to audiences who actually love Disney and all audiences who love Disney.

Finally, when asked directly if he thought Disney was too woke, Chapek responded by attributing the company’s survival to restoring its audience:

“I think Disney is a company that’s survived for a hundred years by talking to its audience and it’s going to thrive for the next hundred years by talking to its audience.”

Will Chapek’s answers help the CEO?

Chapek isn’t the first within the company to respond to criticism for woke, political or diverse content. In addition to Marvel’s Victoria Alonso, Ms. Marvel producer Sana Amanat responded to criticism the Disney+ series received, saying if other “I can’t connect with that, so that’s fine. I just wish they wouldn’t try to put it down.”

She also explained how she hopes the show will provide viewers “a sense of connection within their culture” – something she didn’t have.

While Amanat’s and Alonso’s answers stemmed from personal experience, Chapek’s answers were not. However, that was to be expected since he speaks for the Disney company rather than himself. But it remains to be seen whether these latest comments will further help or hurt the CEO.

Meanwhile, out of the court of public opinion, Chapek’s role as Disney CEO remains securegiven that the Walt Disney Company board of directors unanimously extended his contract until at least 2025 earlier this year.

Until then, this is unlikely to be the last time Chapek will be asked about the company’s position and its critics.

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