Yesterday, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger threatened to yank filming and production from Georgia over the state’s new “heartbeat” legislation, which, if passed, would effectively ban abortion after the unborn baby’s heartbeat is detected (six-week gestation.) Speaking with Reuters about whether or not his company will shoot there in the future, he said, “I rather doubt we will.”
Marvel Studios, which happens to be owned and operated by Disney, recently brought millions of dollars to Georgia’s economy when it shot scenes for both “Avengers: Endgame” and “Black Panther” throughout The Peach State.
Iger also added, “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully…I don’t see how it’s practical for us to shoot there [if the law goes into effect.]”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the blatantly hypocritical and laughable irony in these statements, which is three-fold:
First, that a private company as large, powerful, and as wealthy as Disney actually “has” to do anything or “has to heed” anyone’s wishes is just plain ridiculous (yes, including, and especially, the wishes of their own employees.) This is Disney for God’s sake. They answer to no one but themselves.
Second, that a company which prides itself on cranking out so-called “family friendly” content — from Winnie the Pooh to The Avengers — and being “family friendly” in its very nature as a business, would actually stand against pro-family legislation, is itself overwhelmingly paradoxical and self-contradictory.
Third, that a company which creates entertainment specifically for children won’t do any businesses with states that are defending the lives of its own audience.
Let’s address the first point. Disney has a net worth more bloated than Thor’s beer belly from “Avengers: End Game.” Based on statistical analysis of profit and revenue from the last three years, the company currently boasts a total equity of about $130 billion. We’re talking Tony Stark-level money. As one of the most recognized and prosperous brands in the world, they wield tremendous influence and authority, both on a cultural level and in the business world. People know who they are. People respect what they do. People listen to what they say. Everyone from their fans to their employees has a loyalty that would not be easily broken.
And speaking of authority and employees, when did it suddenly become wrong for a CEO to say, “This is the decision I’m making because I believe it is morally or otherwise right. If you don’t like it or agree with it, you’re free to put in your two-week’s notice or walk now”?
The argument that such a decision would destroy their business or obliterate their ability to maintain a workforce is simply ludicrous and unprovable. Chick-fil-A took a moral stand when they decided to close on Sundays and they don’t seem to be hurting financially or lacking in employees. In fact, they continue to demolish the competition by a wide margin, with one day tied behind their back — even as their own CEO has been outspoken about his beliefs in traditional marriage and conservative Christian values.
So, assuming that Iger is correct, and that hundreds of Disney employees would supposedly jump ship if he chose to keep film production elements in Georgia, I doubt that it would damage this multi-billion dollar company beyond repair. Moreover, I doubt that he would even lose as many workers as he thinks. The pro-choice abortion enthusiast demographic in America is actually much smaller than we’ve all been led to believe. They just happen to have the loudest voices and most of the mainstream media venues at their disposal. The vast majority of Americans, however, are pro-life and even those who aren't still favor restrictions on abortion. Besides, folks tend to appreciate it when a company is willing to stand up for what’s right or at least not get muddied down in political spats. (Not that I’m holding my breath on Disney.)
On that note, let’s address the second point. Disney has long prided itself on churning out “family friendly” content and being a company that reflects and embodies so-called “family values.” If there were ever a time when this was true, it was when Walt was still alive. Sadly, I believe the poor man is now rolling in his grave, wondering why in the blazes his company is producing pro-LGBT kids TV shows, hosting Gay Pride days at their national theme parks, and refusing to denounce the slaughter of the unborn. The question that I would pose here is: How are any of these actions, particularly the latter, considered to be “family friendly?”
If indeed it requires a set of heterosexual parents to create a baby — in order to procreate the human species for further existence — and if you claim to be a pro-family and family friendly company, wouldn’t it then follow that you would naturally stand against anything that would harm or destroy this process or contradict this viewpoint? At the very least, wouldn’t you be as accepting of the pro-life perspective as the pro-choice? Or would you be so blinded by and immersed in political agendas and a childish fear of offending a relatively small minority of people that you would make a decision which contradicts the values ingrained in your company’s own public image, thereby causing yourself to appear utterly ridiculous and hypocritical? Apparently, Disney has chosen the latter.
On the third note, a company whose primary audience is little kids has chosen to openly support the bloody and gruesome extermination of the very babies who would grow up to become said children; some of the very children who would be in their theme parks, who would be enjoying their toys, who would be watching their movies. If you can find anything “family friendly” — or even remotely coherent, rational, moral, logical, or psychologically sane — about this sort of business decision, please let me know.
I certainly can’t.