CEO Bob Iger Responds To Accusations of Disney’s “Woke Agenda”

Though Bob Iger might be a returning CEO at Disney, the company he came back to was not the same as the one he left.


Iger has faced a number of challenges since returning to Disney, including battles with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a streaming service with declining subscriptions and big losses, and more. Now, after announcing a major company restructuring, thousands of job cuts, and a cut in spending, Iger is tackling another issue.

Disney’s “Woke Agenda”

Disney held its 2023 Shareholder Meeting on April 3rd, and during that meeting, we got a number of updates. And shareholders were invited to share their criticisms and concerns. One individual (whose name appeared to be William Russel from New York based on what we heard in the call) asked to address the “elephant in the room.” He stated that in his opinion, Disney has transformed from a place of magic to an “ideological company serving LGBTQIA+…lobbies to groom children.”

He continued by arguing that Disney’s films and entertainment are “increasingly promoting the woke agenda.”

New Walt Disney Studios Logo

He asked Iger, “How can you explain to parents worldwide that you recently celebrated 100 years of history by collaborating with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, to produce an LGBTIA+-themed Disney musical? This is a group who have explicitly stated that they want to indoctrinate children. They literally sang a concert and they sang the words ‘we will convert your children, quietly and subtly. And you will barely notice it.’ Disney chose to collaborate with these predators to sing to children.”

He continued, “parents have simply had it up to here.”


He concluded his question/comments by asking, “Would it not be beneficial for the Company to ditch the LGBTQIA+ and gender ideology for good?” He advised Iger to “turn Disney back to the a-political fun place that it used to be and I bet that you’ll win back both the trust of families and the stock market.”

What Iger Had to Say

Iger responded to these comments and questions by first addressing some of the experiences mentioned. Iger said that Disney prides itself on being “accessible to all people.”

When it comes to content and storytelling, Iger said, “We’ve been telling stories for 100 years aimed at entertaining and inspiring families from all over the world. And we’re extremely proud of the positive impact we’ve had on billions of people over that 100-year period of time. For generations, the stories that we’ve told have touched people’s hearts, because they’ve been infused with right values.”


Iger described Disney’s films by saying, “They’ve celebrated heroes, emphasized the value of family and friendship, they’ve instilled a steady faith in the belief that good triumphs over evil, that tomorrow is always brighter than today. And I think those stories have had an amazingly positive impact on the world, a world that always loves and needs great stories, and…great entertainment, particularly in today’s world.”

Iger then acknowledged, “We’ve recently gotten criticism…for what some perceive to be agenda-driven content. And I’m sensitive to that, actually. Our primary mission needs to be to entertain. And then through our entertainment to continue to have a positive impact on the world.”


He continued, “I’m very serious about that. It should not be agenda driven. It should be entertainment-driven. That should be the goal in all of our stories.”

Iger noted that they likely won’t be able to please all people all of the time. He also said, “We should be sensitive to the fact that parents have different levels of comfort with the content that is delivered to their children. I want parents to be able to trust the content that we’re creating for their children.”

Mickey Plush

Iger continued by saying that Disney is “committed to delivering age-appropriate content for family audiences while also telling stories that reflect the world around us and that foster greater understanding, greater perspective, greater acceptance of all people.”

He shared, it’s “my hope that Disney continues to be a source of hope and optimism for the world. And we’re honored to actually carry forth Walt’s legacy of inspiring joy and wonder for everyone.”

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 09: (L-R) Carrie Hobson and Michael Yates speak onstage during D23 Expo 2022 at Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on September 09, 2022. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

If some of the things Mr. Russel discussed in his question were things that were unfamiliar to you and you’re wondering where some of these criticisms are coming from, let’s go through the background.

A Bit of Background


First, let’s tackle the comments about Disney collaborating with “the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, to produce an LGBTIA+-themed Disney musical.” Russel noted that this same group had “explicitly stated that they want to indoctrinate children.”

This all seems to come from a 2021 video released by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. According to Fox News, the video was the subject of a lot of criticism at the time. In the video, the Men’s Chorus sang about “indoctrinating children into being more concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘justice.'”

Pride Ears

The song in the video included phrases like “We’ll convert your children. Happens bit by bit. Quietly and subtly. And you will barely notice it.W e’ll make them tolerant and fair.” The song lyrics also included the phrases “We’ll convert your children. Someone’s gotta teach them not to hate,” and “Your children will care about…fairness and justice for others.”

The group defended the video by saying that the lyrics had been taken out of context and that it was all just “tongue-in-cheek humor.”



So that seems to be the issue the commenter raised with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. But what does that have to do with Disney? Disney was not involved in that original video from what it seems. Instead, Russel was asking why Disney reportedly collaborated with that same Chorus to “produce an LGBTIA+-themed Disney musical?” It seems what Russel is discussing is “Disney Pride in Concert.”

This is a special concert series that travels to different locations and has been offered (or will be offered) by various gay men’s choirs in a few different states in the U.S. The San Francisco version was offered on March 16th and 17th, 2023.

©San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus

The website for the chorus says that it is a celebration of hit songs from Disney films. They “perform Disney’s iconic songs alongside a 30-piece orchestra, celebrating themes including love, LGBTQ+ pride, and family ties. As well as showcasing Disney’s globally acclaimed musical legacy, this program will also serve as a vehicle for our chorus members to share their personal journeys, and how this music has shaped their lives.”

They go on to note, “You don’t have to be a Disney fan to find something to love. No matter your age, background, or sexual orientation, the selection of songs will touch your heart.”

Pride Mugs

But this concert isn’t exclusive to this group. It has been performed (or will be performed) by the Heartland Men’s Chorus in Kansas City, the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus in Oregon, the Seattle Men’s Chorus in Seattle, Washington, and more.

Pride Parades

What about the “highly sexualized gay pride parades” the questioner mentioned? Well, it’s not totally clear what the individual was referring to. In the United States, Disney has celebrated Pride Month with merchandise, food, photo ops, and more over the past few years — but there has not been a pride parade.

There are Gay Days that take place within the US Disney parks, but these are not coordinated by Disney (nor does Disney appear to directly sponsor or promote them, according to The New York Times’ 2022 article).

Gay Days in Disneyland

Instead, Gay Days is organized through a separate company (Gay Days, Inc.). They typically organize a whole weekend of activities during a specific period of time, and those activities often happen to include a visit to the Disney World theme parks. For example, in early June of 2023, there will be GayDays at Disney World’s 4 theme parks.


These events typically include a visit to the parks by the group, a group photo, and lots of the participants wearing similarly-colored t-shirts, but there generally is not a Disney parade.

Gay Days in Magic Kingdom in 2018

Disney has sometimes become a bit more involved in Gay Days out at Disneyland than Disney World, from what we’ve seen. In 2021, we saw a Welcome Center at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel for the event, a photo op from D23, and some Disney vendors at the Welcome Center.

Rainbow snacks and merchandise

This is very different than the situation out at Disneyland Paris, where there is an official Pride event organized BY Disney. That event does include a Pride Parade but Disney describes it as one where you’ll “Sing and dance to your heart’s content as Disney Characters dressed in rainbow colours celebrate diversity in their magnificent sparkling vehicles.”

Again, though that is different than the US where Disney generally does not coordinate GayDays or pride-specific parades in the Disney theme parks.

UPDATE: Since the original writing of this post, Disney has announced a Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite Event. This is an officially Disney-sponsored/created/hosted event at Disneyland (in the US) that will celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and allies. It will include a Pride Nite Cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A. featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Clarabelle, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy, all dressed in special outfits for the evening.


Disney has supported their Cast Members who choose to march in various City-sponsored Gay Pride Parades, such as this Orlando Come Out with Pride Parade. But these are not hosted by Disney.

©Disneyland Paris

Disney World will be the site of a conference in September of this year related to LGBTQIA+ issues. The conference is organized at Out & Equal and is called the Out & Equal Workplace Summit. It will take place at Disney World and promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in the workplace.

Disney is a sponsor of Out & Equal. Some of the other companies that have sponsored the 2023 event include Apple, McDonald’s, Uber, Walmart, Amazon, and Cracker Barrel. There will be booths at the event for the State Department and CIA, among others. The event website does not seem to mention anything about a parade for this.

Pride Display at Disneyland

Instead, it seems the event will be focused on being a place to “network and share strategies that create inclusive workplaces.”

“Woke Agenda”

In terms of being criticized for having a “woke agenda” when it comes to its content or being agenda-driven, this is a criticism that has come up in recent years related to some Disney films and shows. It most notably became a criticism when a video was reportedly leaked from Disney’s “all-hands meeting” about the Florida Parental Rights in Education Bill.

According to Fox Business, in one video, executive producer Latoya Raveneau said she had a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda.” In another video, Disney corporate president Karey Burke discussed how there are many queer characters in their stories but not enough leads and narratives where gay characters just get to be characters, “and not have to be about gay stories.”

Pride Month at Animal Kingdom

Disney also encountered issues with the release of some movies in China and other countries, like when Pixar’s Lightyear was banned from being released in several countries’ movie theaters due to a same-sex kiss being shown in the movie.

What Now?

Well, Iger’s comments make it seem that he is aware of some of these accusations about Disney having agenda-driven content, but is also dedicated to “telling stories that reflect the world around us and that foster greater understanding, greater perspective, greater acceptance of all people.”

Iger did speak up against the Parental Rights in Education Bill earlier than Disney did and has argued that Companies need to speak up on certain issues as some of them are not really political but just a matter of right and wrong.

PhotoPass Photo Op

During the 2023 shareholder meeting, Iger noted that they shouldn’t necessarily speak up on every issue, but should be allowed to determine “whether, when, or how to weigh in on an issue, whether it’s private or public.” He went on to discuss the importance of companies speaking up about issues and how it impacted the Civil Rights Era or World War 2 “when those who stood in silence in some ways still carry the stain of indifference.”

He concluded by saying, “As long as I’m in the job, I’m gonna continue to [be] guided by a sense of decency and respect and trust our instincts that when we do weigh in, we weigh in because the issue is truly relevant to our business and to the people who work for us.”

PRIDE photo op in Disney World

We’ll keep watching for more updates from Iger and see how Disney moves forward on these matters.

For more Bob Iger news, see our posts below.

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15 Replies to “CEO Bob Iger Responds To Accusations of Disney’s “Woke Agenda””

  1. If you know your history, far-left social issues had strong support in 1960’s & 1970’s — but it was PERCEIVED strong support. Remember the silent majority?

    In today’s world, social media has created “popular” beliefs not held by the majority of Americans. Disney is doing what they think America wants. Today’s silent majority doesn’t want this, Mr Iger. Disney got it wrong and this is the backlash.

    God Bless America that anyone can believe what they want without punishment or death. Wokist ideology simply doesn’t have the support of the greater public.

  2. If you know your history, far-left social issues had strong support in 1960’s & 1970’s — but it was PERCEIVED strong support. Remember the silent majority?

    In today’s world, social media has created “popular” beliefs not held by the majority of Americans. Disney is doing what they think America wants. Today’s silent majority doesn’t want this, Mr Iger. Disney got it wrong and this is the backlash.

    God Bless America that anyone can believe what they want without punishment or death. Wokism simply doesn’t have the support of the greater public.

  3. Iger’s comment about the Florida law says it all, he is intolerant. He won’t accept that many people disagree with schools teaching what many consider are age inappropriate topics and using their roles as mentors to foster personal agendas and teach children how to lie to their parents to do so.

    I no longer support Disney with my wallet, there are many family friendly, a-political places to take my grandchildren here in Florida. I will continue to show them the Disney movies that are classics instead of the agenda driven garbage they spew now.

    The comments about fairness and equity also tell a story. I brought up my kids telling them life isn’t fair and no one owes then anything. Fairness and equity are words used to create victim mentalities, where it’s always the other person’s fault for someone’s place in life. That forms people dependent upon the government and corporations to protect them instead of strong people able to take care of themselves.

    Weak people dependent on the government is exactly what progressives want so they can continue to push their agenda on others. Strong people are able to make decisions for themselves.

    Let’s foster kindness and independence instead. The declaration of independence says we are all created equal, not that we all stay that way.

    It’s the quest to be better that drives us to greatness, not the quest to be the same.

  4. I think I’m going to buy some Disney stock. Also people need to realize that woke is not a pejorative.

    1. So did you buy Disney stock? On the day of your post it was just over $100/share. Last week it got down to $82/share which was a 10 year low and it will continue to fall. In addition to the woke agenda they continue to try to force down our throats they are horribly mis-managed. If you did buy stock sell it tomorrow while your only down 17%. It will be <$60 by the end of the year.

  5. I for one love the answer Bob gave. All that guy was doing was regurgitating the same bs political rhetoric being fed to him which is fueled by lies, over exaggeration which inhibits them from understanding the truth behind things. Disney will continue to have my support

  6. Here is my thoughts on “Wokeness” for what it’s worth. I am a confident, some may say alpha male. I have raised four sons. I live in a very conservative state. I absolutely love Disney. That being said, my family takes what they make for us. We enjoy what makes US happy. We don’t concern ourselves about the things made for others to be happy nor would we deny them that. Find what makes you happy and let others be happy as well. If it isn’t for you, that’s okay. I don’t enjoy every movie, ride, or song either. Someone enjoys them though. We need to stop playing humanity as if it’s a team sport. By that I mean the following. I feel like we are always divided into what team we are supposed to be on and if you’re not on “my” team, then you’re wrong. We are all different for sure. That’s okay though. Be you and be as happy as your short trip on this little rock allows you to be. Try not to be the reason someone else is unhappy.

    1. Amen! You said it all perfectly. I’m so tired of labels and how they divide us. Why does it matter so much to everyone who someone else is attracted to. Live your life, do what makes you happy as long as you harm no one else. Life is too short to be angry little people and love feels so much better than hate.

  7. The Woke agenda is one of the main reasons for loyal Walt Disney fans to leave Disney. Some other reasons are Disney is not enforcing dress code and should tell guests to go & come back properly dressed if they do not or if they come a 2nd time dressed wrong BAN them for life. Another reason is alcohol in the parks Walt said firmly no alcohol at all and current leadership is going against his words and Walt was afraid of what would happen & it IS!! Lastly pricing is driving alot of families from going and Walt said that his park was for families. That is my opionon & I am sticking with it for life.

  8. So 30 years ago almost no parents objected to the content and Disney produced. I’m fairly certain that at least 50% of parents object to woke agenda driven entertainment for their children. However, until it hits Disney’s bottom line ($$$), Disney won’t do a darn thing about it. So if you really care then don’t buy Disney don’t go to the Disney parks. But the reality is most people care what they don’t care enough. So Disney will keep pushing and pushing until it’s not even the Disney that we knew of. But this is just a pendulum swing. Eventually it will get too much for even left leaning parents at which point Disney will start to come back more conservative. Time will tell when but we are not there yet.

    1. Bob Iger comments were politically correct. The company has taken a tremendous financial hit. Star Wars, Disney +, Marvel movies have all been infiltrated with ideologies that have not profited financially a company that was once extremely profitable.
      It is politically nice to support inclusion in movies, literature, songs…etc. However, if it does not make dollars it does not make sense.
      Support other and love it, but if you want mainstream America to spend their dollars a more conservative bent will be necessary. Until a robber or thief attempts to infiltrate your home you do not protect the house.
      These ideologies are creating terrible content. None that the mass public wants to consume as qualified by the layoffs at Disney, Marvel, Disney +, projects stalled indefinitely…etc.
      Walt would not steer his company in this direction and we all know this. Come back to the light Carol Anne (wording from Poltergeist), come back to what made Disney great! Listen to the 75 percent of fans who love classic Disney and return to profitability. Those who support other tend to become unemployed at some juncture! It only takes a little time.