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News Busters
24 Feb 2024
Christian Toto

NextImg:Disney Exec Blames Woes on Racist, Sexist Fans

Few would deny Disney is in serious trouble.

Stock woes. Box office flops (“Wish,” “Haunted Mansion,” “The Marvels“). Theme park struggles. Beloved brands struggling for relevancy after years of culture dominance (Indiana Jones, Pixar, “Star Wars,” the MCU).

There’s a cottage industry of alternative media outlets documenting Disney’s decline.     

What went wrong?

The company’s hard-Left turn, for starters. Disney declared war on popular Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, pushed a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” and embraced DEI principles behind closed doors.

Yet the company may not be listening to fans all but shouting for the Mouse House to course correct, and fast.

Bulwark Culture Editor Sonny Bunch shared a snippet from a recent Puck Newsletter suggesting Team Disney isn’t about to change its ways. The teaser comes from Matt Belloni of Puck News fame who spoke with an unnamed Disney executive on the company’s woes.

Said executive blamed consumers, not the company, for its problems. Audiences are too sexist, racist, etc. to embrace Disney product.

It’s not us. It’s you (racist).

Everyone says ‘It’s the movies, stupid,’ which is an easy thing for people to say. More appealing movies are a great way to jump the political issues. But more and more, our audience (or the segment of the audience that has been politicized) equate the perceived messaging in a film as a quality issue. They won’t say they find female empowerment distasteful in The Marvels or Star Wars the latest trilogy starring Daisy Ridley], but they will say they don’t like those movies because they are ‘bad.’ So ‘make better movies’ becomes code for ‘make movies that conform to regressive gender stereotypes or put men front and center in the narrative.’

Except critics aren’t so keen on Disney’s recent product, either. Films like “Wish,” “The Marvels” and “Haunted Mansion” all fared poorly at Rotten Tomatoes. Others earned more positive reviews but hardly the kind of raves past Disney product earned.

Survey Says … It’s Complicated.

A Puck-produced brand survey offered mixed results for Disney. On one hand, Disney, Inc. is suffering for its political leanings.

All 29 companies have high favorability ratings (that’s consistent with most opinion surveys of major companies), and people actually carry pretty positive feelings about the major studios. But Disney clearly scores the lowest, with 21 percent unfavorable. No other entertainment company had an unfavorable rating above 11 percent, meaning Disney is nearly twice as disliked as any other Hollywood entity we included. (Hulu, which is owned by Disney, scored especially well at only 8 percent unfavorable, indicating the problem is the Disney brand, not any of its sub-brands necessarily.) 

Yet the same survey suggests consumers won’t take that into account if the Disney product in question seems entertaining.

Long story short?

If last year’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” trailer looked exciting, few would have connected the sequel to Disney’s ongoing woes.

It didn’t. The film proved to be a flop based on its gargantuan budget ($300 million versus $383 million worldwide gross).

Disney: Come See Our Films, Mr. and Mr. Racist

Disney still has considerable assets to build a comeback upon, including future sequels (“Moana 2,” “Inside Out 2,” “Toy Story 5”) effective belt-tightening measures and allegiances to the video game revolution.

Blaming audiences for the company’s problems, especially suggesting naysayers are bigots, hardly seems like the best way to heal the company’s financial wounds.

If one unnamed executive is saying it, chances are he or she is hardly alone.