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Disney CEO Bob Iger responded to a bevy of criticisms, including the performance of Disney World and the idea that Disney is sexualizing children, in a recent interview with CNBC.
Iger called the notion of Disney playing a role in the overt sexualization of kids an unfounded claim, after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in March 2023 that Disney adds a lot of "sexuality into the programming for young kids," according to the Daily Mail.
"The notion that Disney is in any way sexualizing children, quite frankly, is preposterous and inaccurate," Iger told host David Faber.
"Our goal is to continue to tell wonderful stories and have a positive impact on the world," Iger added. The CEO also claimed that the company's role is to "manufacture fun" and not to be involved in culture battles.
"It's not our goal to be involved in a culture war."
Iger, who returned to the company in 2023 for his second stint as CEO, also shrugged off questions from the reporter that Disney theme parks, particularly Disney World, have been struggling. The program featured a graphic that showed average wait times on July 4, 2023, were down 20 minutes since 2021.
"It's a very, very popular business and product. It's very successful. ... Pricing is not an issue," added Iger. The Disney boss said he was "not at all" concerned about a loss in revenue over time at the park due to battles with DeSantis, either.
It has appeared to ring true that Disney's theme parks, experiences, and products divisions remain the stars for the massive company. Despite 7,000 layoffs in 2023, those cuts were allegedly due to a loss of subscribers on streaming platform Disney+, as just a month later the company's theme parks announced a massive profit.
As of March 2023, Disney's theme parks, experiences, and products divisions saw a $3 billion profit, with attendance at U.S. parks up 11% from the previous year.
This was coupled with a massive raise for Disney World employees, as more than 30,000 union members agreed to a raise of about $3 per hour in 2023, with most seeing pay increases of more than a third by 2026. This equated to a 37% raise for employees over just three years.
Other sectors, like Disney's ESPN, however, continue to see high-profile layoffs.
"We're going to keep doing what we do best and be proud of what we are doing," Iger continued.
Disney and the state of Florida are involved in a lawsuit dating back to April 2023, when the Walt Disney Co. filed a federal lawsuit against DeSantis after the theme park's special tax district, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, was revoked.
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