Bob Iger came back to The Walt Disney Company after a short hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic and many hoped he would mend the disastrous trail of overpriced tickets and food at the Disney parks.
While Iger was gone, the company charged theme park visitors for offerings that were previously free, like the shuttles and the FastPass, as Insider reported.
“Disney’s problems are vast, and fixing them all may not be possible, particularly in the two years that Iger said he’d dedicate to the company in his return to the C-suite,” reported CNN’s Frank Pallotta when Disney announced the news in November last year. “But If anyone can bring back the magic to the Walt Disney Company, the company believes Bob Iger may be uniquely qualified to do it.”
As the president of the Parents Television and Media and Council, Timothy Winter said he was “immediately heartened” when he heard the news about Iger.
Winter, in an open letter to the returned CEO, said that Disney went downhill in Iger’s absence.
Does Disney have more adult content than before?
In July, new additions came to Disney+, as the streaming platform welcomed R-rated movies to its list of offerings. A few months earlier, TV-MA shows like “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and “Iron Fist” had also landed on the platform.
At the time, the council accused Disney of breaking the promise of keeping the platform family-friendly and criticized the company for producing and distributing content that the group said wasn’t family-friendly.
The company often offers deals on streaming bundles, like one that Disney offered during the holidays, where consumers could buy Disney+ and Hulu for $3 a month, compared to the original price of $11 a month. But Hulu’s demographic leans more toward adults and so does its programming.
Winter claimed Disney hasn’t been focusing on the quality of the projects it creates and instead, the company distributed shows like FXX’s “Little Demon,” which follows a 13-year-old girl who discovers that her father is Satan.
It features multiple uses of the F-word and other profanities, as well as animated gore and nudity, as Aaron Shill reported for the Deseret News.
Other shows like “PEN15” and “A Teacher” also earned the parents council president’s disapproval. The former is a raunchy comedy about two middle school girls and the latter is a sordid romance between a teacher and a student.
A possible path Disney could take
The Walt Disney Company has grown from catering to just family-friendly content. With its size, it's hard to stay away from the limelight — former CEO Bob Chapek called for Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill to be repealed in April last year, as Joshua Lee reported for the Deseret News.
The bill, commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, prohibited discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity to elementary school children in kindergarten through third grade.
So, when Iger was asked during a town hall about whether or not the company will carry on centering stories around LGBTQ themes, he said: “One of the core values of our storytelling is inclusion, acceptance and tolerance. And we can’t lose that; we just can’t lose that.”
But Winter argued that Disney “needs to stop trying to be like Netflix, and instead return to being more like … the Walt Disney Company.”
He claimed that while the company was always inclusive with its storytelling, it has now begun indoctrinating children as higher-ups continue to “push sexual themes into children’s programming.”
“Certainly you can help Disney embrace inclusivity without sexualizing, or even sexually exploiting, children,” he said in the open letter. “Perhaps more than anyone inside the ‘House of Mouse’ you understand, appreciate and value the qualities of the Walt Disney Company that made it so successful, and so wildly valuable.”