Disney Gets Tangled in Big-Picture Pushback
As much as it would pain the Left to admit it, Bob Chapek was right. The Disney CEO, whose back must hurt from bowing to so many LGBT demands over the last month, warned that getting involved in Florida politics would “divide and inflame.” At the end of the day, it’s “counterproductive,” he tried to argue. Four weeks and a nationwide boycott later, the company and its extremist hijackers are learning a painful lesson: This isn’t the conservative movement of 10 years ago. They’re squaring off against a Georgia-hardened, nationwide parents-led rebellion that doesn’t back down to bullies. Not anymore.
After four years of Donald Trump, who refused to negotiate with the Left’s cultural terrorists, conservatives started finding their voice on tough issues. But the real turning point came in early 2021, after a bruising election that left millions of voters feeling betrayed, suspicious, and angry. When Republicans started passing a wave of election reforms, Democrats decided to run their most reliable play: training the full wrath of the Left on the first state out of the gate so that others are too scared to follow. Unfortunately for them, the winner was Georgia.
Hollywood, Big Tech, and corporate America descended, squeezing all of the familiar pressure points in hopes that Governor Brian Kemp (R) would break. He didn’t. In fact, after days of abuse and media harassment, the governor became more outspoken, more resolved. By the time Major League Baseball made its desperate decision to pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta, the Left had already lost. And in the process of that humiliating and costly defeat, a grassroots fire was lit.
Parents, who were just starting to take over the nation’s school board meetings, tapped into years’ worth of outrage at the woke culture infiltrating our classrooms, businesses, and entertainment. Now, suddenly, companies like Disney — who are used to people rolling over and surrendering on LGBT issues — have been shocked into silence. Turns out, Americans across every major demographic agree with Florida: Children under eight shouldn’t be exposed to sex and transgenderism at school. And the idea that anyone — let alone an empire built on kids — would oppose that (or worse, aggressively try to sexualize children on their own) has turned into a rallying cry so powerful that Chapek is ordering a media blackout. In a complete about-face from a handful of days ago, Disney is refusing to take interviews about the Florida law, apparently “hoping the whole thing blows over.”
That’s wishful thinking, NRO points out. In the last year and a half, conservatives have learned what it takes to win these woke wars, “[and] there is no reason to believe that things will go differently with the fight over adding gender ideology to the K-3 curriculum in Florida.”
And yet, there are still companies foolish enough to test the consumer market on social issues. Citigroup, who infuriated the House of Representatives by agreeing to pay for employees’ abortion travel and lodging costs, has taken its share of lumps from Texas leaders for the policy. Now, despite threats that the House will cut ties with the financial company (which is the exclusive credit card of members), other CEOs are jumping off the same deep end. Yelp, Apple, dating apps Bumble and Match, and car services Lyft and Uber have all announced policies that would directly or indirectly fund their staff’s abortion-related fees. “Some businesses, including Salesforce, have gone so far as to offer to relocate employees living in states with abortion bans,” CNBC points out.
If businesses want to wade into the culture war, then they’ll have to accept the financial consequences. And right now, there are plenty. Across social media, the stories of moms and dads canceling trips to Disney or ending their subscriptions to Disney+ are coming in bigger and bigger waves. Elected officials are openly calling for boycotts of the company — or, in the GOP’s case, returning their Disney campaign donations. If Apple, Yelp, Citigroup, and others think they’ll escape the woke wars unscathed, they’ve got another thing coming.
It’s taken a long time for Americans to wake up to what Disney has been doing quietly for years. And as corporations like them become more activist in nature, so will consumers. “Some may think parents, including me, are overreacting,” Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) said. “We are not ... If we cannot fight for our children, then what can we fight for?”
As Christians, it’s time to start putting our money where our values are. That might require little sacrifices here or there. Maybe it means giving up your favorite Oreos and Mars candy. Maybe it means swapping out some of your go-to brands for off-label products. Or maybe it means playing a board game instead of going to the latest blockbuster. At the end of the day, voting with our wallets is just as important as voting with our ballots. Sure, consumer activism can be uncomfortable or inconvenient — but this is the kind of stewardship we’re called to as believers. The last thing we should want is for what we put into the offering plate on Sunday to be canceled out at the box office on Friday. “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).
If you need help tracking companies, check out our friends at 2nd Vote. They’ve taken some of the guesswork out of shopping by ranking brands on a set of key issues. If businesses can’t stay neutral on the things that matter, neither should you!
Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council and executive editor of The Washington Stand.