Disney Reports Unprecedented Losses Amid “Woke” Allegations

in Disney, Entertainment

Snow White face down in the woods

Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company has faced its fair share of backlash, especially over the last couple of years.

Disney’s core entity, Walt Disney Studios, is celebrated for its timeless classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and contemporary blockbusters such as The Lion King (1999). It has consistently pushed the boundaries of animation and storytelling, earning a special place in the hearts of generations.

Snow White looking scared
Credit: Disney

Beyond animation, Disney’s acquisitions have allowed them to tap into different genres and audiences. Pixar Animation Studios introduced the world to computer-animated gems like Toy Story (1995), while Marvel Studios created the monumental Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing beloved superheroes like Iron Man, Thor, and the Avengers to the big screen. The acquisition of Lucasfilm allowed Disney to enter the world of space operas with Star Wars, reinvigorating the franchise with new stories, characters, and experiences.

In 2019, Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox) brought beloved franchises like X-Men and Avatar into the Disney fold. Beyond film, Disney’s influence extends into television, with networks like ABC and ESPN under its umbrella, providing a diverse array of content, from compelling dramas to thrilling sports coverage. Disney Channel has been a staple in children’s programming for years, while National Geographic offers educational content and captivating documentaries.

In addition, Disney’s experiences come to life in its Parks, Experiences, and Products division, which oversees iconic theme parks like Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, as well as a plethora of merchandise and consumer products.

a photo of Cinderella's castle inside of Magic Kingdom at Disney World
Credit: Inside The Magic / Walt Disney World Resort

While Disney’s immense success is undeniable, it hasn’t been without controversy. In recent months, a portion of Disney’s fanbase has taken issue with the company’s perceived shift towards being “woke.” Many fans have argued that pushes from Disney for “social responsibility” have led to changes in traditional Disney storytelling.

Multiple movies created by Disney in the last couple of years have felt the effects of failed box office pressure, including Lightyear (2022) and Strange World (2022), and Disney’s streaming operations lost $512 million in the most recent quarter. It is worth noting that though Disney has seen some losses at the box office, the company has also continued to see success with several other projects, and the theme parks continue to rake in major profits. But, the backlash has continued.

Disney’s stance on social and political issues has also fueled the “woke” debate. The company’s responses to global events, such as racial justice protests and environmental concerns, have been perceived by some as overtly political. Additionally, Disney’s decisions to make changes in its theme parks, like the reimagining of the Splash Mountain ride to become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, have faced resistance from those who resist altering beloved attractions.

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger in front of Cinderella Castle
Credit: Inside the Magic

While many fans have pointed to Disney’s live-action version of Snow White as the next example of the company turning “woke,” as Disney has made multiple decisions to change the beloved 1937 classic animated film, there is now another report from the company that proves to be telling in another aspect of the company.

For the first time, Disney released in-depth financials for ESPN, and they were not good. The company disclosed that ESPN had lost 20% in profits for 2023, even after layoffs that were made earlier this year.

“Revenues for Disney’s sports division were $13.2 billion over the first nine months of fiscal 2023, a 1.3% drop compared to the same period in FY 2022 ($13.37 billion),” according to reporting by Front Office Sports.

Exterior of The Walt Disney Company
Credit: Disney

While there hasn’t been anything confirmed, Disney CEO Bob Iger has teased the idea that the company might be open to finding a partner in dealing off ESPN. Apple came forward as a reported prime candidate, but nothing has come of it as of yet. ESPN has been considered the “worldwide leader in sports” for multiple decades, but it should be noted that Fox Sports has made major strides in revenue, and competition could continue to get even tougher for the sports broadcasting division of Disney looking into the future.

What do you think of these Disney losses? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

in Disney, Entertainment

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