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What's behind the historic fall in Disney stocks

A vertiginous drop in Disney shares, at a time when the company has been investing heavily in militant productions, reinforces an assumption that Disney left seems to ignore, but that was already bothering other big entertainment companies – like Paramount and Netflix. Corporate activism has a price and, if the consumer is not willing to pay it, companies will inevitably not be able to afford it – on pain of death.

Over the past year, Disney stock has recorded a historic drop of more than 45%. In addition to the economic recession, the result seems to denote a reaction from the consumer public to the insertion “nothing secret” of a strong gender agenda in children’s programming, as revealed by the executive producer of Disney Television Animation, Latoya Raveneau.

“In my little series Proud Family , from Disney TVA, the showrunners [espécie de produtor executivo responsável por manter a coesão de um filme ou série] were super-welcoming to my not-so-secret gay agenda (…) and then, with all that impulse I felt, that feeling of ‘I don’t have to be afraid to have these two characters kissing in the background’, I was just, whenever I could, adding queerness [apologia à teoria de que o gênero não é inato, mas fruto de um sistema social opressivo] . Nobody was going to stop me, and nobody was trying to stop me”, reports Raveneau.

Historically low ratings reinforce the thesis. . According to specialist website Bounding Into Comics, the Disney+ launch Ms. Marvel recorded the lowest numbers on the streaming platform. A total of 775 a thousand families watched the series, in its first five days, a rate far below other programs, such as Cavaleiro da Lua (1.8 million), Hawkeye (1.5 million), Loki (2.5 million) and WandaVision (1.6 million).

In addition to the screens, recently, an arm wrestling by Disney militancy against the Florida government ended badly for the entertainment giant. In April, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill passed by the Republican-majority Legislature revoking the special tax exemption and other privileges for Walt Disney World in Orlando. The benefit existed for more than half a century, due to an understanding by legislators that the enterprise would create jobs, attract tourists and generate taxes on the sales of products.

The decision was a response to Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s protests against the Parental Rights in Education Act, a bill signed by DeSantis banning the teaching of gender issues in early childhood education through third grade. in Florida. Activists dubbed the article “Don’t say gay” – even though the word “gay” is not mentioned in the legislation – claiming that the bill criminalized the recognition of the existence of same-sex couples.

Since last year, Disney has banned “gender greetings” such as “boys”, “girls”, “ladies” and “gentlemen” in its parks. The goal is to make the experience “magical and memorable for everyone,” according to Diversity and Inclusion Manager Vivian Ware. “We don’t just want to assume that someone might be, in our interpretation, presenting themselves as a woman, that they might not want to be called ‘princess,’” he said.

“Disney, in other words, had instituted a ‘don’t tell’ policy on binary sex, forbidding the recognition of a simple truth,” criticizes Michael Brendan Dougherty of the conservative magazine. North American National Review.

Culture war x profit

“What’s most interesting about this latest culture war conflict is that Disney’s foray into progressivism conflicts with the company’s profit in a different way. that we haven’t seen yet. It is the first great example of failure and burning of corporate virtue signaling. In almost all previous iterations, companies have exerted their influence without incurring any significant loss of public image or profit,” says Alexandra DeSanctis, Researcher at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Disney’s big mistake, says DeSanctis, was to have relied on a solution contrary to its own business model, which is to create entertainment for everyone to enjoy, “and enjoy without fear that their children are being ideologically indoctrinated.” “It is safe to say that virtually no one in the United States wants their children to watch sexualized films, let alone those that introduce them to controversial topics such as gender identity, same-sex relationships, and queerness”, complete.

Recent research by the Trafalgar Group shows that the further Disney enters the culture wars, the further families distance themselves from its products. More than 68% of US general election voters polled in April

by the study, said they were less likely to do business with the company after the news that their plans include the insertion of sexual ideology in content for children. Almost 775% of respondents said they would likely support “family alternatives” to Disney.

Cal Thomas, writer and columnist for the conservative news website Daily Signal, endorses the predictability of consequences faced by a Disney that chose not to listen to its founder. “He deliberately kept politics out of his movies and theme parks. As [o biógrafo Neal] Gabler writes: ‘Actually, despite his republicanism, Walt Disney belonged to everyone,’” he comments. “The Disney organization must follow the vision and example of its founder and not engage in statements and actions that can only undermine its vision and the success of the company. If it doesn’t reverse course, it could lead to an irreparable stain on the Disney brand and what has long been considered a ‘magical kingdom’”, warns Thomas.

Abortion and Gender Transition

In the last week, with the Supreme Court’s overthrow of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the United States, Disney was on the list of American giants willing to pay for abortions for employees residing in states with restrictive laws.

In April, a video of an internal Disney meeting, posted on Twitter by Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, shows that the company is assisting employees and their children with relocation procedures. sex and “gender affirmation” through the benefits program.

According to a question-and-answer document shared by the Fidelity Investments, which manages Disney’s benefits program, coverage includes puberty-suppressing hormones for minors under the direction of an endocrinologist. For adults, health insurance covers genital implants or prostheses, hair removal, hair transplantation, breast augmentation or reduction, tracheal shaving, in addition to vocal, speech-language pathology and facial feminization surgeries.

Executives on alert

)Disney’s example has served as a warning to American executives, who have realized the risks of taking sides on sensitive cultural issues. According to the Wall Street Journal, the dispute between Disney and the governor of Florida alarmed the country’s great business leaders and the reflexes could be felt in the timidity of opinion after the Supreme Court leak on Roe v. Wade. “More than a dozen brands that have already taken a stand on other issues have declined to comment on [sobre aborto]’s draft opinion [sobre aborto] or have not responded to requests for comment,” reports the vehicle.

“When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis showed his political strength against Disney CEO Bob Chapek, for pushing the boundaries of the ‘Parents’ Rights in Education’ bill, an unmistakable message was sent: Challenge us on core values ​​and you’ll pay”, reinforces Suzanne Bowdey, editorial director of the Washington Stand.

“This is a big change from just a few months ago when companies woke

were joining the fray on everything from gender identity and school curriculum to critical race theory. Now, shy of the drama that happened between Orlando [cidade que abriga os famosos parques da Disney] and Tallahassee [capital do estado da Flórida], more companies are thinking twice about attacking Roe”, completes Bowdey.

Paramount and Netflix

If, exactly two years ago, Netflix was among the entertainment companies that supported racial justice, for some time now Big Tech has retreated in projects on the subject, including the series “Anti-racist Baby .” In October of last year, employees of the streaming platform organized a walkout to protest Dave Chappelle’s special, whose content they deemed “harmful.” “If you find our breadth of content difficult to support, Netflix may not be the best. place for you”, said Netflix, through a cultural memo.

“This is exactly what should have been Netflix is ​​a business, not a charity,” says Megan McArdle, a Washington Post columnist. “Netflix presumably refused to cancel Dave Chappelle in part because management thinks the service will gain more subscribers for keeping its shows than it will lose – and canceled ‘Anti-Racist Baby’ because it doesn’t believe the project will generate enough subscribers to justify the cost ”, he adds.“Of course, it wasn’t crazy to think that Netflix and its peers could wield their mind-changing power from that audience. But that power would always be severely limited by the economic needs of the business, which the left seems to be forgetting as it pressures companies to take the strongest possible position on everything. There is no corporate shortcut to social change that avoids the need for politics and persuasion, because faced with choice, companies will always choose to make money over making history,” argues McArdle.

In the opposite direction of streaming platforms that remove content considered “inappropriate”, to meet modern cultural expectations, the American company Paramount ruled out removing historical programs from its new streaming service. “By definition, you have some things that were made at a different time and reflect different sensibilities,” says Bob Bakish, CEO of Paramount. “I don’t believe in censoring art that was made historically, that’s probably a mistake. It’s all on demand, you don’t have to watch anything you don’t want to.”

Paramount owns American television networks CBS, MTV and Nickelodeon, in addition to Paramount Pictures, which recently achieved global success with the film Top Gun: Maverick, which has been the target of progressive criticism for its alleged apology for “toxic masculinity”.

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