Disney CEO says animation is only for kids, Twitter hits back sharply

Disney CEO Bob Chapek
Disney CEO Bob Chapek's latest comments on animation and adults have sparked controversy and outrage from animation fans (Image via CNBC)

Disney CEO Bob Chapek found himself the talk of Twitter today, thanks to some recent comments he made about animation. Chapek has been the CEO since Bob Iger’s retirement from the role in February 2020.

In his interview with the Wall Street Journal, Chapek claimed that when parents put their kids to bed after watching animation, they likely won’t watch another animated project for themselves. Chapek essentially expressed his belief here that animation is only for kids, despite Disney’s recent attempts to foray into the anime market, which makes a living off of adult demographics.

Follow along as this article fully breaks down this latest news from the Disney CEO, as well as addresses fan reactions to these claims.

Disney CEO’s claims regarding adults and animation sparks outrage on Twitter

Chapek's comments and fan reaction

Disney’s 🤡CEO explaining how animation is strictly for kids: “I always say that when [parents] put their kids to bed at night after watching [an animated film], they're probably not going to tune into another animated movie. They want something for them."

Chapek's comments have, unsurprisingly, sparked outrage amongst Twitter users who call themselves general fans of animation. While many are discussing anime films and series specifically, there are Western series which are also being brought up, such as Family Guy, Rick and Morty, and Invincible.

Many fans are critiquing Chapek's comments, mainly due to his position as CEO of the Walt Disney company. Known for its loyal fanbase comprised of all age groups, many pointed out how direct Chapek's comments appear to be, against the products Disney puts out .

Counterargument from Guillermo del Toro: “[A]nimation is not a genre for kids; it’s a medium. Animation is film. Animation is art. And it can tell stories that are gorgeous and complex that feel handmade by humans for humans.”

It's certainly an interesting comment to make, especially in light of Disney's recent acquisition of anime titles like Bleach: TYBW and The Tatami Galaxy. These titles likely cost Disney a large sum to acquire the streaming rights for, especially Bleach, making Chapek's comments all the more confusing.

@cartoonbrew Yeah, bc I’m gonna put watership down on for the kids and let them fall asleep to it

Fans are most definitely confused by these comments, as well as expressing anger and disbelief that the CEO of Disney could say such a thing. This is somewhat unsurprising, with Chapek's comments being expectedly divisive considering the company he represents and the products they're known for.

@cartoonbrew Ohhh....that's not a very smart thing to say. Can't wait for this to go viral.But he does have a point as much as Disney has been been pushing the medium of animation as an art form Disney has played it safe for almost 100 years.
@cartoonbrew This is just sad he shouldn’t even be the CEO for Disney, I’m sure if Walt were still around he would not let the company fall into his hands
@cartoonbrew Wow. I feel like, if you’re going to be the CEO of a major studio that is known for producing animation, you should be required to take an animation history course. Learn to respect what you’re trying to be part of…

Fans are also critiquing Chapek for a lack of knowledge regarding the history of the medium, of which his company’s namesake is very much a part of. The entire situation seems to have, unfortunately, left a bad taste in the mouths of animation fans regarding Disney’s apparent approach to and opinions on the medium.

While it remains to be seen if these comments will affect the company in the long run, it’s clear that people are upset with Chapek’s comments. At least in the immediate future, the Disney CEO might face issues from fans because of his comment.

Follow along for more anime, manga, film, and live-action news as 2022 progresses.

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Edited by Abhipsa Choudhury
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