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Disney CEO Admits True Feelings About China, Wants to Sit Down with DeSantis

Disney CEO Admits True Feelings About China, Wants to Sit Down with DeSantis

Disney CEO Bob Iger indicated Wednesday that he has scaled back his once-high hopes for business with China.

In 2019, Iger was saying that “as the CEO of The Walt Disney Company” he looked at China “quite favorably,” according to Fox Business.

But during Wednesday’s DealBook event hosted by The New York Times, he said that while he still has great hopes for growth from Shanghai Disneyland, he has a less rosy outlook for business with China in general, according to Deadline.

“If you’re asking me whether I’m as optimistic as I once was about growing our business in China, the answer would be no. I think it’s pretty obvious that issues between our countries tensions have had an impact on business, not just Disney’s but on other companies as well,” he said.

Iger said Disney has minimized the risk of the Shanghai venture going south.

“I guess there’s to some extent, additional risk associated [with the theme park] but not all the capital that we put in is ours. We have a partner there. And so some of the risk is shared with a local entity. I’m not losing sleep over the risks that we’re taking there at this point,” he said.

“But again, I think I’m somewhat sobered about the prospects of our company and other companies long term,” he said.

During his appearance, Iger addressed Disney’s deteriorating relationship with Florida’s state government, which was sparked by the company’s denunciations of a bill supported by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that would ban discussions of transgender ideology in primary grades.

“The company, while I was gone, decided to take a position against the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that was moving through the Florida Legislature. I won’t comment about what I would have done or not done, but the company took that position against it,” he said.

“The governor got very, very angry at the company when it took that position and decided to punish the company by basically stripping its rights to a special district around Disney World that had been in place for decades,” he added.

Iget said to him the core issue was not the legislation in question but “was about does a company have a right to free speech. And if it exercises its right to free speech, it should not face retribution.”

Iger said he reached out to the governor’s office to clear the air.

“I offered at some point through intermediaries, the ability to have a conversation with him, but he did not, he did not take me up on that offer,” Iger said.

During his interview, he addressed some of Disney’s movie flops, including “The Marvels.”

“’The Marvels’ was shot during COVID, and there wasn’t enough supervision on set” by executives, he said, according to The Verge.

Iger said Disney needs “to get more realistic” about how the age of streaming has redefined what a hit is in terms of revenue, also noting that it was a “definite mistake” to bump up output to meet streaming service demands, leading to an erosion in quality.

Iger was also asked about a 1966 Walt Disney letter excoriating the practice of making sequels, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“I don’t want to apologize for making sequels,” Iger said, adding “there has to be an artistic reason” for sequels.

“We have made too many … but we will only greenlight a sequel if we think the story that the creators want to tell is worth telling,” he said.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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