Woke Disney Is Over According To CEO

By Christopher Isaac | Published

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Regardless of whether you agree with the way have used the word “woke,” it has become a quick way for some to criticize the sincerity of diversity efforts by many companies. In more recent years, some critics have leveled the word woke at a lot of movie offerings from Disney. However, Disney CEO Bob Iger wants to make it clear that is not the case anymore.

The CEO Speaks

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Iger said that there may indeed be some validity to criticisms about woke messaging in recent Disney films. However, he made it clear that he has talked a lot with the company about making entertaining films the priority first and foremost.

“The bottom line is that infusing messaging as a sort of a number one priority in our films and TV shows is not what we’re up to,” said Iger. “They need to be entertaining, and where the Disney company can have a positive impact on the world, whether it’s, you know, fostering acceptance and understanding of people of all different types, great.”

Iger also gave voice to the word “woke” being misused and misunderstood nowadays, and that some of how people direct that word at Disney does not even make sense. However, he did say that in past years that perhaps some of their films tried too hard to aim at very niche audiences at the expense of making movies that have broad appeal. Iger made it clear he believes that reaching the biggest audience possible should be the objective, but that messages of tolerance and understanding can still fit within that framework.

Woke Isn’t Always What You Think It Is

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While the term “woke” really just refers to being aware of social injustice in the world, as usage of the word became more popular in recent years, many ascribed a more calculated definition to the word. To some, the word “woke” refers more to trying to force diversity into situations to try and win favor with politically liberal individuals.

Some Fans Have A Fairly Low Tolerance For Any Diversity

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To some people, the simple representation of certain minority groups will be perceived as woke if included in a Disney film. For instance, the 2017 live action version of Beauty and the Beast caused an uproar when it was made publicly known that the movie would include a gay character. Entire articles were devoted to the subject, arguments were had, talks of boycotts and banning the movie were had.

And then once the movie released, the movie’s inclusion of a gay role amounted to nothing more than the character LeFou dancing with a man for literally three seconds of screen time. But that alone was enough to cause controversy.

Entertainment Comes First

No specific examples were given by Iger of instances when he felt woke messaging in Disney had gone too far. But he did make it clear he does not think Disney movies should include anything that might be off-putting to the general audience.

“On one hand in order to do that, what you do, the stories you tell, have to really reflect the audience that you’re trying to reach,” he said, “but that audience because they are so diverse, really, first and foremost, they want to be entertained, and sometimes they can’t be turned off by certain things. And we just have to be more sensitive to the interest of a broad audience. It’s not easy, you know, so that we can’t please everybody all the time, right?”

Disney’s Diversity Isn’t Always Consistent

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There have been other instances of so-called woke moments in Disney films, such as in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker where a same sex couple is seen having a celebratory kiss for a moment. However, this scene was edited out of the film’s release in countries that are opposed to homosexuality.

So even people who support same sex rights were critical of Disney for seemingly pandering to them by not sticking to their guns in keeping the scene for all releases. It is unclear if these are the types of moments Iger had in mind when making his statements, but it will be curious to see what future releases look like if they follow Iger’s promise of less woke messaging.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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