Just in the past few months, the name “Bob Chapek” has almost become a trigger word among Disney Fanatics. No matter what camp you find yourself in, whether it is the group chanting “Go Woke Go Broke,” the masses demanding a return of Annual Passholders, or the fans frustrated with the quality found in new movies and Park experiences. I do not think it is far-fetched to say Disney Fanatics have been drenched in some type of disappointment in 2022, and CEO Bob Chapek has emerged as the key scapegoat for all of it.
Recently, we at Disney Fanatic shared the news that The Walt Disney Company’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to extend Chapek’s tenure as CEO for another three more years. That news has been met with a fair share of backlash.
But here is the thing: I do not think we are not actually mad at Chapek, and I don’t think we should be. The Walt Disney Company is a massive corporate ecosystem filled with independently moving parts that each play their own role in your frustrations. This man has just become a punching bag for the anger that is targeted at a slew of different people. Now, it could be that I am being far too assumptive to say that other Disney Fanatics agree with me on this. But, after some personal reflection, I have realized that my anger, and perhaps others’ anger as well, is misplaced just on Chapek.
Let me explain:
I realized I was not really mad at Chapek. I am mad at the unnamed Walt Disney Imagineers who follow orders from their superiors to make politically-inspired changes to your favorite attractions while aspects much more in need like the Walt Disney World Monorail System. I am mad that there are people making decisions in DPEP who genuinely think that eliminating gender-specific greetings in the Theme Parks takes priority over the rapidly declining quality of quick-service meals.
I am not mad at Bob Chapek. I am mad at the bottom-rung Cast Members “on stage” whose combination of disrespectful sass and lack of experience is permitted and lowers the quality of the Guest experience in the face of rising ticket prices. I am mad at the unruly Guests whose physical confrontations and other inappropriate antics have taken up far too much space on this website.
I am not mad at Chapek. I am mad at the executives in the film and television corners of Walt Disney Studios who are more than willing to make divisive content and shame away its traditional family-focused fan base, all in the name of forced “equity, diversity, and inclusion.” And I am mad that they are continuing this blind pursuit with seemingly zero regard for the fact that it has only divided its fan base, failed at the box office, and clearly helped bring Disney’s stock down to lows not seen in years.
I am mad at the globalists who appear to apathetically choose to compensate for the loss of domestic Disney+ subscribers by expanding and investing in local programming in foreign markets rather than work to renew the spoiling relationships here that go back generations.
Am I frustrated Chapek does not appear more hands-on as his predecessor? Yes. But I don’t think it is anywhere near the same business situation Iger had. I argue that we cannot be too mad at Bob Chapek when all of these decisions are coming from a Disney establishment solidified by former CEO Bob Iger years before Chapek was promoted. Multiple people on multiple levels need to take unapologetic action soon, and this CEO needs to give them the green light to do so.
We all want someone to point the finger at. But one man cannot change this broken system on his own. Clearly, the board of directors feels as if he is still the guy to captain the ship. So, let’s see what happens. If anything, I feel bad for the guy!
But even though I am angry, I still love The Walt Disney Company with all of my heart. I still believe it is the greatest storytelling machine on the planet today, capable of unmatched levels of quality. I would not be wasting my time on an article like this if I did not still care.
I will be returning to the Walt Disney World Resort soon, still holding on to faith, trust, and pixie dust that the magic can get back to where it was before.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.