Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger has vowed to "quiet the noise" in the ongoing culture war that's turned the media giant into a political football. The revelation came in an investors' presentation on Tuesday at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, according to an analyst note from Needham media analyst Laura Martin.
Amid the furore over 'woke' politics, falling revenues, and a less-than-stellar quarter, Iger also dropped the bombshell that Disney plans to double its investment in theme parks and cruise ships over the next decade, Reuters reported.
Disney found itself thrust into the eye of America's culture storm last year. The company ignited a firestorm of criticism when it slammed Florida legislation restricting classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity. Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis hit back by targeting "woke Disney," and the state stripped the company of self-governing authority over its theme parks.
Both sides are now embroiled in a legal war over the formation of the Central Florida Oversight District board, which oversees almost 25,000 acres around Disney's theme parks.
It remains to be seen how much of the $60 billion earmarked for new investment will actually be spent in Florida. Especially at a time when Disney is sweating under increased competition from behemoths like Universal Orlando Resort.
Even as it aims for global box office glory, Disney has tripped on international minefields. Countries have been blocking the release of the Pixar Animation Studios film "Lightyear" for featuring a brief same-sex kiss, adding another layer to Disney's relationship with social issues.
Iger's latest comments mirror his previous stance. In April, he told an investor that Disney should not be "agenda-driven," focusing instead on entertainment and positive world impact. Now, with the pledge to "quiet the noise," it appears that Disney is keen to move away from the culture war to protect its profit margins.