Do They Even Know What ‘Woke’ Means? Iger Takes Down His Critics

Bob Iger Disney
Foreground Image Credit: Glennia, Flickr

Disney CEO Bob Iger has had a good couple of weeks. He successfully ended the Walt Disney Company’s feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and won a proxy battle against activist investor Nelson Peltz.

But since his April 3 victory, Iger has been busy showing off Disney World’s new and future projects and updating Disney’s slate of new movies, but he’s also spent some time going after his enemies.

disney wokeness

Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr; Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Related: Disney is Accused of Being ‘Woke’. What Exactly Does That Mean? 

During his battles with Peltz, Florida Governor DeSantis, and X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk, the accusation most often lobbed at Disney was that the company had “gone woke.” Musk even posted an April Fool’s joke on X claiming that he’d been hired as the new DEI officer at the Walt Disney Company, saying he “can’t wait to get to work with Bob Ige and Kathleen Kennedy to make their content more woke.”

Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management railed against Disney’s “woke content,” wondering why they had movies with an all-female and all-African American cast. Peltz specifically pointed to The Marvels (2023), which bombed at the box office, and Black Panther (2018), which made more than $1.3 billion.

But Bob Iger had some thoughts about his critics who claimed that Disney has “gone woke.” Iger said: 

The term woke is thrown around rather liberally. I think a lot of people don’t really understand what it means. 

Bob Iger (L) and Elon Musk (R) with a speech bubble saying "I'm the Alpha."

Credit: Inside the Magic

During an interview with CNBC, Iger called his proxy battle with Peltz “distracting” and said it was “absolutely not” helpful for the Walt Disney Company. When asked about Elon Musk’s ranting on X, Iger responded, “I ignore it. There’s no relevance to the Walt Disney Company or me.”

During the shareholders meeting, Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked directly about Disney’s “woke” content. He said: 

Infusing messaging as the sort of number one priority in our films and TV shows is not what we’re up to. They need to be entertaining. And, look, where the Disney company can have a positive impact on the world—whether it’s fostering acceptance and understanding of people of all different types—great. But, generally speaking, we need to be an entertainment-first company, and I’ve worked really hard to do that.

bob iger success disney

Credit: Disney

So, with the battles seemingly over for now, Bob Iger seems eager to get on with the work of fixing the Walt Disney Company and updating Disney theme parks around the world. Now, if he can only avoid these “distractions” and find a suitable successor. We will see.

What do you think of Bob Iger’s big couple of weeks? Has he saved Disney? Let us know in the comments.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

One comment

  1. Has he saved Disney? Seriously? He inherited a growing and financially strong company from Eisner. One which had an unassailable reputation. He and his team (and Chapek is part of it) are the ones that diminished the Walt Disney Company and have made the parks experience worse than when he took over. Looking forward to his overdue departure.

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