After a series of hardships and rising conflict throughout the 2022 fiscal year, as of today the stock price for the Walt Disney Company has dropped by a reported 3.9%. In case you somehow missed any of the news updates, here’s a review of just some of the reasons why its share values could have tanked.
Even two years after the United States first enacted a nationwide quarantine order as part of Covid-19 safety protocols, many tourist enterprises still struggled to recover, and Disney Parks was no different. On top of hesitant Guests, natural weather disasters like the one in Orlando right now caused Walt Disney World to lose approximately $65 million due to theme park closures.
Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay Bill”
In March, the Governor of Florida announced a controversial piece of anti-LGBTQ+ legislature. After it was initially discovered that the Walt Disney Company had elected to remain uninvolved, Cast Members, animators, and corporate headquarters employees all embarked on a massive walkout across both Coasts in protest. Interestingly, this prompted Disney to denounce the bill, an act which led DeSantis to target Walt Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District in retaliation, leading to an internal lawsuit by a Disney investor.
Cast Member Protests
Just last month, a group of thousands of Disney World Cast Members held a protest hoping to convince Disney to pay them a fair, living wage. Though the Local 737 Union and Disney have discussed contract negotiations, so far, they have not reached an amicable compromise.
Strange World (2022)
In November, Walt Disney Animation released its 61st film, a Jules Verne-inspired sci-fi called Strange World. However, perhaps due to featuring a diverse cast of people of color, a perceived lack of Company advertisement, or the same-sex romance of Ethan Clade on-screen, the film faces the lowest audience scores in Disney history and could cost the Studios millions of dollars.
(Moreover, LGBT content in Disney Channel’s The Owl House also led to a conservative backlash, with Disney TVA electing to not renew for a third season despite dedicated viewership.)
Recently, the entertainment distribution platform for Disney media announced it would introduce two new membership tiers, a basic tier at the same price but now with advertisements and a more expensive ad-free premium tier. Many fans decided not to renew on this fact alone, while some who did found their TV model would force them into paying for the premium tier or forfeiting streaming altogether in the end.
CEO Bob Chapek
Lastly, when former CEO Bob Chapek assumed control of the Walt Disney Company just a short while ago, it seemed fans were quick to blame him for any issue that arose at all. Despite this, many of his decisions to implement unpopular and difficult policies, poorly restructure company operations, and approve price hikes did ultimately impact Disney’s overall financial success, enough so that its Board of Directors recently aligned to oust Chapek in favor of his retired predecessor, CEO Bob Iger.
As it happens, the Walt Disney Company will enter its 100th year of operation in 2023, but will it (and Disney stock) be able to survive?