Monday, June 27, 2022

Emmy Griffin: Suspicious Change in Disney Corporate

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Geoff Morrell, Walt Disney Company’s chief corporate affairs officer, has resigned after only three months on the job. Morrell, who was one of the architects of the company’s dishonest public response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, said in a letter to his staff: “After three months in this new role, it has become clear to me that for a number of reasons it is not the right fit. After talking this over with [Disney CEO] Bob [Chapek], I have decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”

Chapek wrote this in a memo announcing the change: “I am writing to share the news that Geoff Morrell, our Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Fortunately, the strength and experience of our existing leadership team — including relatively new all-star hires — means there is no shortage of talent to guide our reputation-driving functions.”

Disney’s reputation-driving functions have been lackluster since the once-family-friendly company took a stand against Florida’s popular bill. Disney not only exposed a radical push within the company to indoctrinate children in the LGBTQ+ agenda, but also a level of cowardice from corporate, which bent toward the will of a loud few.

The backlash has been stunning. Disney stocks have plummeted since mid-March, when the company announced its stand against the Parental Rights in Education bill. People have canceled their Disney+ subscriptions, and protesters have gathered outside the parks. The corporate image of Disney has changed from a beloved children’s entertainment company to something perverted that seeks to hurt children. Recently, Florida’s Republican legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis relieved Disney of its government-granted autonomy that allowed the company to be self-governing and to have a special tax status.

Geoff Morrell came to Disney having formerly worked as a Pentagon press secretary and as head of communications for the energy company BP. His brief captaining of Disney’s corporate affairs and the eye-opening the public got of what The Walt Disney Company has become do not seem to be a coincidence.

It leaves us to speculate: Did Morrell leave because he didn’t protect Disney’s reputation? Did he leave because he wasn’t woke enough or quick enough to take a stand against the bill? Or was he just a convenient fall guy for the mistakes his predecessors made in this public snafu?

Either way, it’s a story to watch.

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