Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek has responded to mounting criticism that the company's mass media and entertainment conglomerate has gone too far in being politically correct.
When asked if Disney has become "too woke" Chapek asserted that the company will reflect the “rich, diverse world we live in.”
Disney has received a lot of heat from conservatives and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after the company called on Florida's legislature in a tweet to repeal the state's anti-LGBTQ+ "Parental Rights in Education" bill–a.k.a. "Don't Say Gay" bill.
The leader in the animation industry also incurred backlash for restoring a previously deleted same-sex kiss scene in the movie Lightyear and for casting a Black actress as Ariel in the upcoming live-action film, The Little Mermaid.
At Wednesday's Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference, Chapek responded to accusations of Disney being "too woke"
"I think the more complex something is, the more you really have to drill down into the basics. And we want our content to reflect the rich, diverse world that we live in.
"And, again, I guess that’s another way of saying, ‘Catering to your audience.’ But the world is a rich, diverse place and we want our content to reflect that."
"And we’re so blessed to have the greatest content creators and they see it similarly.”
Chapek stressed that inclusivity was something Disney will continue to strive for to fulfill its goal of bringing people together.
He used visiting Disney parks as an example to illustrate how this is already being achieved.
“I always say, when someone walks down Main Street and look at the castle, you’re not thinking ‘I’m on one side of the political spectrum or the other.’"
"You have a shared belief in all the wonderful aspects of what Disney is. I want to use Disney to bring people together, and I think we’ll do that by diverse stories and diverse characters.”
The audience had plenty to say in regard to accusations of Disney being "woke."
The company was initially slammed by its employees and others in the entertainment industry–especially for Chapek's silence and reluctance to get politically involved leading up to the passage of the "Don't Say Gay" bill that was eventually approved by the legislature in March.
Upon reflection, the situation made Chapek realize he needed to prioritize the needs of Disney employees with every decision.
"We were reminded, through the passion of our cast reaction, how important their sentiments are on these issues in terms of making them feel that they were part of The Walt Disney Company," he said.