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Disney SEC report suggests wading into LGBT culture war presents 'risks to our reputation'

People from the Walt Disney Company participate in the annual LA Pride Parade in West Hollywood, California, on June 9, 2019.
People from the Walt Disney Company participate in the annual LA Pride Parade in West Hollywood, California, on June 9, 2019. | DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images

Walt Disney Company suggested during a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) report that its controversial stances on social issues could endanger its bottom line by causing "risks relating to misalignment with public and consumer tastes."

"Generally, our revenues and profitability are adversely impacted when our entertainment offerings and products, as well as our methods to make our offerings and products available to consumers, do not achieve sufficient consumer acceptance," the company wrote in the 10-K filing, which offers financial disclosures and potential risks to shareholders.

"Further, consumers’ perceptions of our position on matters of public interest, including our efforts to achieve certain of our environmental and social goals, often differ widely and present risks to our reputation and brands."

Disney has faced allegations of going "woke" in recent years in part because of its LGBT activism and the content of its entertainment, and the company has suffered multiple box office bombs in recent months.

While the SEC report noted $88.9 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2023 — a 7% increase from last year — it also noted that it cut film and TV content and staff, according to Deadline.

George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley described consumer rejection of Disney as an example of economist Adam Smith's "invisible hand" at work.

"The question is the balance and degree of the political and social agenda," Turley wrote for The Hill. "Disney’s products are now viewed by many conservatives as empty virtue signaling and endless attempts to indoctrinate children. Moreover, when the company publicly declares its opposition to a popular parental rights bill in Florida, it is moving away from a commercial to a political focus."

Hurley added that even "iconic and once-unassailable corporate images" such as "Star Wars," "Frozen," "Toy Story" and "Mickey and Friends" are now struggling with revenue.

Following protests from LGBT employees in 2022, the company denounced Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill that prohibits gender identity and sexuality instruction to elementary school students.

After the bill passed, a company spokesperson subsequently released a statement claiming that it “should never have passed and should never have become law,” adding, “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis subsequently labeled the company "woke" and worked with the State Legislature to strip them of the special rights Walt Disney World had in Orlando as a special administrative tax zone.

Disney's actions also drew criticism from Christian figures such as Samaritan's Purse CEO Franklin Graham, who in 2022 accused Disney of exhibiting "a complete moral failure" antithetical to Walt Disney's pro-family worldview.

"LGBTQ activists are using corporations to force their agenda on the public, and companies may want to take another look at what they are allowing to happen," Graham said in 2022. "Disney has gone too far. The people of Florida have revolted, and it’s going to cost Disney big time."

Regarding their tussle with Florida over the Parental Rights in Education bill, Disney CEO Bob Iger said last year that he "was sorry to see us dragged into that battle" and promised to "quiet things down."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to jon.brown@christianpost.com

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