Milot’s Musings: Disney Goes Woke

Published 1:59 pm Friday, April 8, 2022

When I was working for a living in New York back in the ‘80s, my account’s advertising and publicity was handled by an agency out on Long Island.

Calling on me was Art Iger, the agency’s executive V-P and General Manager. Art was the father of Bob Iger of Walt Disney fame.
In the course of our business relationship, Art and I discovered we shared a mutual love of jazz. He had once played trumpet in a big band and knew many of the great players.

On many a Friday, Art would come into Manhattan, and the two of us had lunch while listening to non-professional musicians play at Jazz at Noon.

Art and I also shared strong family values and followed each other’s children as they made their way through life. In early spring of ’88, Art introduced me to Bob, who was basking in the glow of ABC’s successful TV coverage of the Calgary Winter Olympics in February.

Working under Roone Arledge, head of ABC Sports, Bob Iger had overseen the difficult job of scheduling the television coverage of the events.
Calgary launched Iger’s meteoric rise from head of ABC Entertainment in 1989, to President and Chief Operating Officer of Capital Cities/ABC in 1994, and Chairman of Walt Disney in 1999 (Disney had purchased Capital Cities/ABC in 1995). Art Iger and I watched from the sidelines and cheered.

Art died in 2010, but I kept following his son’s progress. By then Bob Iger had risen to CEO of Disney, a post he held from 2005 to 2020, the year Bob Chapek was named his successor.

I mention the name of Bob Chapek because he was in the news lately when he publicly took the side of LGBTQ activists in opposing Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” legislation, mis-named “Don’t Say Gay” by opponents.

By taking this stand as CEO of Disney, Chapek officially pronounced Disney a Woke corporation. While protestors cheered, the backlash was enormous.

Supporters say the bill is meant to allow parents to determine when and in what way to introduce LGBTQ topics to their children. Indeed, the legislation—which never mentions the word Gay—bans the instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade. In direct opposition to transgender ideology, it says in effect that teaching little kids that they can be whatever gender they want to be is inappropriate.
President Biden, of course, condemned the bill as hateful to LGBTQ students.
For him, this was just another opportunity to label Republicans as haters. Jen Psaki was even more explicit in advancing the president’s slander: “Today, conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack the kids who need support the most.”

So where does Bob Iger stand on this? In an interview with Chris Wallace, the retired head of Disney said, “To me, it is about what is right and wrong, and that [the bill] just seemed wrong. It seemed potentially harmful to kids.”

And exposing little kids to transgender ideology isn’t?

Over 70% of Florida parents, until now loyal Disney customers, disagree with you, Bob. So do I. So would your dad.

A retired publishing executive whose columns appear in several newspapers, Claude Milot can be reached at cmilot@embarqmail.com