Why was Disney CEO fired? Bob Chapek sacked amidst woke controversy

Bob Chapek, ex-CEO Disney (Image via Deadline)
Bob Chapek, ex-CEO Disney (Image via Deadline)

Disney is going through a tumultuous change as the company's CEO Bob Chapek was fired by the company, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Chapek took the reigns of Disney 11 months ago and navigated the company through pandemic-stricken waters. Bob Chapek took over the company from Bob Iger, who served as the Disney CEO for over 15 years before he retired.

Since Bob Chapek was fired, Bob Iger will return to his position as the company's CEO.

Bob Chapek was fired after Disney's share prices plummeted

Bob Chapek was fired after starting a few controversies that brought immense harm to Disney's share price.

While Disney reportedly backed Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill's sponsors in March 2022, it was Chapek's lack of response to the same that infuriated people. The bill limits LGBTQ+ discussions for students in Florida schools up to the third grade.

The 62-year-old was also criticized earlier in 2022 by conservative audiences for putting a k**s between two women on Lightyear. They claimed that the scene shouldn't have been there since it was a kid's movie.

There was another scene in Baymax, where a transgender man buys tampons, that also got a lot of criticism. However, it is also quite likely that the project that was approved when Bob Iger was in power.

Susan Arnold, the Chairman of the Board at Disney, announced Chapek's exit from the company on Sunday night. Arnold thanked Chapek for carving a path for the company while facing "unprecedented challenges" due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While Disney has lost an estimated amount of $10 billion during the pandemic, it has also seen its share price suffer a 41% fall this year. Two weeks prior to the announcement, the company saw a new dip in the stock price on November 9, 2021. However many experts are still expecting a recovery, and Chapek himself said that the company will see profits in 2024.

It was also reported that Chapek made some crucial calls to the company without conferring with the Board's chairman. This included laying off 28,000 theme park employees and bringing more focus on Disney+, which has also been incurring losses.

Who is the new Disney CEO?

Bob Iger returns as Disney CEO (Image via Masterclass)
Bob Iger returns as Disney CEO (Image via Masterclass)

Bob Iger, the company's former CEO, will return to his previous role. Iger served as Disney's top executive for more than 15 years before his exit and announced that he would be retiring permanently.

After it was confirmed, Iger also sent an email to all the company employees announcing his return. While he mentioned a number of things in the email, he noted that he had nothing to say about Bob Chapek's exit. Chapek was initially seen as Disney's heir after Iger's retirement.

Iger's email read, (in part):

"It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility-and, I must admit, a bit of amazement-that I write to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer."

With Chapek's all-inclusive approach, the company saw changes within its iconic Magic Kingdom show phrases, "ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls." Jungle Cruise, a Disney World ride, also suffered changes after it was deemed racist towards indigenous people.

It remains to be seen how the company changes with Iger's leadership, but a change is inevitable, nonetheless.

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