The Walt Disney Company has been in turmoil for months, and internal politics have reportedly reached a boiling point with employees of the company who want change, and want it now.
Thousands of Disney employees are reportedly furious with Disney CEO Bob Chapek over his recent decision to delay the move of 2,000 workers to Florida, from California. Disney employees recently told The Wrap that the company’s recent decision to delay the move to 2026 has reinforced what many already felt: “You cannot trust Bob Chapek.”
“It’s pure chaos,” one current employee reportedly said. “It really is.” Another insider said “A lot of people were pissed,” while another claimed, “This is messing with people’s lives and school plans.” Some affected employees are saying Disney has left them high and dry when it comes to the logistics of the move.
The Walt Disney Company was planning to relocate 2,000 California workers to its new campus in Central Florida, but said last week it is pushing back the planned move to 2026. Disney claims the postponement is due to a new completion date for the campus, not because of the company’s ongoing war with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R).
However, many note the coincidence that 2026 is the last year DeSantis will be eligible as Governor if he is re-elected this fall, during the midterms.
Some Disney employees are refusing to move to Florida over the state’s Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the teaching of gender ideology and transgenderism to children in kindergarten through third grade. Many employees still harbor resentment against CEO Bob Chapek for initially refusing to take the radical progressive stance on the bill.
Morale within Disney has plummeted under Chapek’s leadership, and things only got worse with the firing of Peter Rice, the chairman of The Walt Disney Company’s TV content division. Rice was fired by Chapek in a move said to be caused by a “cultural conflict” with the current direction of Disney, according to people familiar with the situation.
The move has reportedly been a major shock not only for Rice, but many in the company who thought he was in a position to become the new CEO to replace Bob Chapek after internal criticism about how he has handled Disney’s public feud with the state of Florida.
A Disney insider was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as saying the latest move by Chapek is a massive mistake. “It’s not good for the company. Morale is terrible.” Another Disney executive stated that there is major backlash regarding how Chapek announced the firing.
“At Disney, at that level, you don’t treat an executive that way. You give him a production deal, you give him a cover story, you give him a party, you walk them out the door. If you have to execute someone, there are ways to do it. It’s the lack of touch. It’s like this guy doesn’t know how things are done in our town.” one said.
Disney’s Lightyear took a major hit at the weekend box office after only pulling in an estimated $85 million dollars worldwide. With a production budget of over $200 million, the film is currently on pace to lose $100 million for Disney after marketing and talent is adjusted.
Disney’s stock price dropped to its lowest point since the start of the COVID pandemic at $92.45 as of this writing, down 41% in the last six months, and down 47% since this point last year. With the current leadership and culture behind the scenes at Disney, investors are questioning the company’s ability to right the ship with a bear market and likely recession around the corner.
What are your thoughts on the leadership turmoil of The Walt Disney Company?