Disney just can’t seem to stop fanning the flames.
CEO Bob Iger took the stage at a session of the New York Times’ DealBook Summit on Wednesday and explained Disney’s decision to end its ad buys on X, formerly Twitter. In response to an allegedly anti-Semitic post by X owner Elon Musk, Iger undercut his own stated goal of quieting “the noise” of the culture wars now associated with America’s once-favorite family brand.
As of Thursday, Disney faced a fresh wave of conservatives calling for boycotts, urging one another to unsubscribe from Disney+. Without a doubt, Disney is a company that has lost its way. But there is something broken in the logic of conservative aims in this latest display of rage.
Conservatives have no doubt been successful in making their anger with Disney clear. It’s hard to place exactly when the rift fully opened up, but it’s been downhill since former Disney CEO Bob Chapek positioned the company against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the “Parental Rights In Education” bill that aimed to protect K-3 students from sexualized curricula and gender theory. Since then, Disney has stumbled from one public relations catastrophe to another, peaking with leaked video footage that same spring of an executive promising to insert more LGBTQ content into films and television.
Since then, Disney has revealed in company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it’s increasingly worried about “misalignment with public and consumer tastes and preferences for entertainment, travel, and consumer products” and anticipates a decline in subscriptions and sales. And Disney faces new competition from the Daily Wire’s upstart Bentkey Studios, a well-funded children’s entertainment alternative for parents exhausted with having to preview all of their kids’ shows in advance.
But what do conservatives want to achieve here with boycotts aimed at punishing Disney for leaving Musk’s X? If Disney is indeed a shadowy pedophilic corporation promoting the sexualization of children, wouldn’t the correct response be that of Elon Musk when he bid Disney’s Bob Iger farewell with a gentle “go f*** yourself”?
It’s vital for the right to grow beyond tantrums and posts of unsubscribe screenshots as both the means and the end of their activism. The goal should be a better Walt Disney Company. It should be screenshots of confirmed subscriptions to alternative platforms being offered by the likes of Bentkey and Angel Studios, which backs “The Tuttle Twins” series.
It makes little sense to both loathe Disney and demand that the company subsidize X with its advertising, which conservatives would presumably claim promotes immoral content. You should want an X free of Disney ads, if that’s what you sincerely believe. Instead, we get conservative influencers clamoring for Disney to “bend the knee to us and Elon Musk.” Why?
I want Disney to be better. I want Disney to return to a golden era when it represented a brand that American families, parents, and their kids could all enjoy together. Being permanent opposition weakens our hand. It doesn’t strengthen it.
Let’s place our energy and resources into supporting alternative family entertainment, not empty displays of power politics on social media.