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Today’s episode is about the fight, over the parental rights in education.
Bill in Florida, otherwise known as don’t say gay on Monday, just this week.
Ron DeSantis signed the don’t say gay AKA parental rights education bill after weeks of ferocious debate.
This is very likely.
The single most, ferocious famous, Infamous, controversial criticized defended, misunderstood state law.
Law of the year.
Say it’s designed to stop Florida teachers from indoctrinating students into the cultural far left.
Say it’s designed.
In fact to chill free speech in school and scare lgbts teachers and students into silence.
This is a debate that is already transcended politics.
It’s not just Republicans versus Democrats.
Fox News versus the White House left versus right?
It has entered the cultural bloodstream at the Hosts, Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes, chanted, gay, gay gay in protest of this law in the Walt Disney Company, the largest private sector employer in Florida.
It’s creating a disastrous crisis for CEO about JPEG, and for the country at large it reflects.
The fact that America’s culture War today is in large part, a school War.
How should we teach history and race, and gender identity and sexual orientation in our schools?
What are America’s students allowed to hear in the classroom?
This is for better.
And I think, mostly for Worse the single most hotly debated Topic in American culture today.
In today’s episode has two parts in part one.
We do a deep dive of the law last week.
Just before the bill was signed.
I spoke with Dana Goldstein a reporter for the New York Times, who walked me through this legislation literally line by line to explain in Crystal Clear language what it says.
And what it means, our second guest is Matt Bellamy co-founder of Puck news and the host of the great new ringer podcast on Hollywood called the town and Matt talks to us about the Ripple effects of this law.
The Walt Disney Company and its embattled CEO.
I’m Derek Thompson.
This is plain English.
My first guest is New York Times Reporter, Dana Goldstein Dana.
Welcome to the podcast.
Thanks for having me.
What I thought we might do is walk through this bill line by line, and that’s not hard, because the bill is pretty sure.
It’s seven pages.
Hundred sixty three lines.
I’d like to go line by line through the most important parts of this bill and have you explain to me what this?
This law literally says, so, does that sound?
Yeah, let’s do it.
All right, so I think we should start with the passage that earned the bill.
Don’t say gay.
I am quoting now from this bill quote, classroom instruction by school Personnel, or third parties on sexual orientation, or gender identity.
May not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.
To quote Dana.
What does this mean?
And why does it make so many people so mad?
Yeah, so I think it’s obviously open to interpretation.
But the most obvious thing it means is that if a k through 3 teacher is doing a lesson.
It should not touch on issues of sexual orientation or gender identity.
And what would that mean in practice a book where a character has two moms or that?
You know, mentions egg a historical figure and the fact that that person was gay, would not be the book that the teacher would read aloud to the class.
You know, I think that the second part of this that in all grades, including grades above grade 3, that you would have to make sure that such discussions would be quote, developmentally appropriate on quote.
That is something that would be very debated.
I mean, I think people disagree about what’s appropriate for a 13 year old.
For 16 year-old.
And so that would be something that I think parents, teachers students, even are going to debate and the vagueness of that really raises questions about how this law would be interpreted.
So it’s important to say this law does not literally say, don’t say gay, what it does is potentially create the kind of legal atmosphere designed to discourage teachers from Adding gay characters or the issue of gay people in any classroom instruction and it’s important.
I think that the word instruction is not defined.
Lots of these words aren’t defined like, no matter where you come down and sexuality or gender identity.
This is an unbelievably vague piece of language.
Like, you might as well say like have a law that says sexual education must be good, sexual education, classroom instruction on sex.
Ed may not occur in a manner.
That is not good.
It is so absurdly.
Vague, that tipping my hat.
Adam server here.
I wonder is the vagueness.
The point is the point of the vagueness to create such a large space for potential litigation that it makes teachers.
Feel like they’re in the danger zone.
Just walking up to the line of including gay people in their instruction.
Yeah, some of the legal experts.
I spoke to certainly thought that the the vague language was a very deliberate choice and They many people I spoke to you about the Bell.
Use the term chilling effect that when you have such broad language, you create, especially maybe in a community that might be more conservative.
You would create among Educators, not just teachers, but also counselors being a really important group that are singled out by this bill.
You create a fear of sort of touching on these issues.
And another thing I just wanted to mention is that there’s a preamble to the bill and there’s the text of the law.
It’s And lawyers mentioned to me that the Preamble is often a place that they’ll tell their clients to look at that language for the intent of the bill.
And that’s really important with this bill because the Preamble has a different phrase, which is classroom discussion.
Now, classroom discussion is potentially even broader than classroom instruction, classroom instruction may be a lesson plan that a teacher draws up to say, read a certain book with her students, but classroom discussion could be much different.
I mean, you could imagine a scenario where a teacher with young children, is reading a book about families and a little girl raises her hand to say.
Well in my family, there’s two moms or in my family.
There’s two dads.
Now, if classroom discussion of sexual orientation is banned.
How is the teacher supposed to respond by the letter of this law?
Are they supposed to sort of ignore that or not react warmly and affirmatively to that?
That’s something that a lot of people are wondering about.
And this is for people who might have text of the law, in front of them are 10.
Look it up.
These are lines 21 through 23, quote prohibiting classroom discussion about sexual orientation, or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified Manner.
And, again, in certain grade levels.
It’s explicit about that.
It says, you can’t even touch this stuff between kindergarten and third grade, but it’s again, in a specified manner where the law is so, So broad that.
It might ban any discussion of gay lesbian trans sexuality in many grades.
After grade, 3, Dana.
I wonder if you’ve talked to or read, conservative legal Scholars, who say this is not the intent of the bill.
We’re not trying to stigmatize and shame gay and transgender people under the guise of protecting children, what to your mind is either the most Common conservative defense, or the most reasonable legal, conservative defense of the language of this bill.
So I spoke to Tiffany Justice.
She’s an activist with moms for Liberty, which is a florida-based group that has been very active in supporting this law.
And she said, to me, you know, this really isn’t about gayness and she really emphasize that she specifically said, most parents have no problem with there.
Children being gay, the world has really changed being gay or lesbian as so, broadly accepted.
But this is really meant to Target gender identity and issues of transgenderism, and she thought that the sort of broad intent was clear and that she thought it was sort of overheated or not accurate to be concerned more broadly here, but I will say that the language of the bill is much much broader than lgbtq issues or gender identity issues and actually could constrain all sorts of mental and emotional health services.
It’s just very, very broad.
So, I think, what active, what inspired activists to write this bill?
And to push for this bill is one thing.
But what it actually says, is quite another You’ve pointed out that the word gay does not appear in this bill.
The word homosexual does not appear in this bill.
Instead, it prohibits classroom, instruction of sexual orientation, and gender identity.
But this makes me think I have a sexual orientation, and gender identity.
I am a man with a wife, like, if I’m a teacher of a first grade classroom in Orlando, and I’m doing a lesson for my first graders about sandwiches.
And I began this instruction by saying, you know, what’s your favorite kind of sandwich?
You know, my wife made me this sandwich.
It’s a ham and cheese sandwich.
So, Noah, what’s your favorite kind of sandwich, etcetera?
Well, wait in the middle of an instruction on sandwiches.
I have introduced the fact that I’m straight and have a wife.
I have introduced the issue of my sexual orientation.
Could this bill really allow a parent to sue my school district for that disclosure?
Strictly on the way it is written.
Yes, and this was mentioned to me by Educators and Florida who I interviewed.
They said look it’s not uncommon for teachers to put some photos up in their classroom up their personal lives, their family.
And if you are, you know, in a same-sex marriage and you teach and get grades K through 3, this could conceivably be an issue.
The way this bill is written.
It’s really bizarre.
Okay, let’s move on to the second passage of Interest lines 67 through 78.
If you’re following along at home.
I’m going to read again from the bill literally because I think it’s really important for people to hear the language to literally hear what, what is in this legislation quote in accordance with the rights of parents.
The state will adopt procedures for notifying, a student’s parent, if there is a change in the student services.
Has or monitoring related to the students mental, emotional, or physical, health, or well-being, and quote, and as a reading?
I’m sure there’s some people out there and pods Lander thinking.
Oh my God, this is so incredibly boring.
This is such vague legislator language again.
I do think that the boringness in the vagueness is, is the point.
What is this section saying in plain English?
So, in plain English, this section of the bill appears to require schools to I parents anytime a student seeks Mental Health Services or physical health services for any reason whatsoever.
There is no language in here saying that this notification requirement only applies to gender or sexuality issues.
So for example, if a child goes to talk to a counselor about their parents divorce or maybe something much more serious, Substance abuse issues in the peer group or bullying in school, according to the language of this law.
If that is not something the child has done before, if this is a new Outreach from the child’s, the school would need to notify parents immediately.
So I want to point to the first words of this quote, which might have struck a lot of people is totally Anodyne in accordance.
With the rights of parents, the concept of parents rights is very interesting and very much in the news.
On the one hand, of course, parents have rights, of course, parents should have rights when it comes to the way that their children are being educated.
On the other hand, at this very moment, parents rights has become a conservative cause a conservative term.
Can you tell us a little bit about the parents, right?
It’s movement nationally as we understand it.
And how that connects with this particular Bill.
Well, the parents rights movement and this type of terminology has been prominent on the right for many decades, and it’s used on a really broad range of issues.
Whether it’s vouchers to get public money to send your child to a private school.
Or in the past.
There was a lot of resistance to sex, ed.
That would not be abstinence-based.
So this language and this movement As long as it’s not new, I think right now there’s a few things that have really come to the fore for the parents Rights Movement, which is a conservative movement.
And one is the one we’re talking about today about lgbtq issues and particularly wanting to protect their children from what they see, as schools affirming children, who are questioning their gender identity.
They very much wrote this bill because they do not want.
Schools, affirming children, who question their gender identity?
If that is something that the parent does not want to do, if if a child born, female goes to the school and says, I feel like a boy and the parents position is to discourage that they would like the school to follow the parents decision and that is not something that is necessarily explicitly mentioned in this log.
That is the overriding concern of these activists at the moment.
And the other thing that the parents Rights Movement is very focused on right now as we all have heard so much about is the so-called critical race Theory issue, which is, you know, a term that the right has sort of co-opted to refer to many different efforts to discuss racial inequality and address racial inequality in schools.
You know, what’s really interesting?
Thing is that I know a lot of gay Republicans.
I’m on Twitter who are more offended by this passage.
Then by the passage that gave this law.
The name, don’t say gay.
And that’s because, while I think it’s one thing to have a chilling effect as you.
So, I’ll put it on the way teachers teach.
It’s another thing to have a chilling effect on students.
Coming out to high school counselors, like the law seems to force lots of schools, which serve as the first line of therapy.
Many students to have to out their students to the parents.
Like have you heard anything on your end about the degree to which some people might be more offended or even more frightened by the implications of this passage than by the first one?
I mean the the count School Counselors Association and Florida and the school counselors.
I spoke to are very very concerned about this.
A big deal in their profession is wrestling with when you go to families to Guess what children have brought to you or teens have brought to you.
They have a lot of Professional Standards that have been worked out over years and it’s a constantly evolving debate about how you handle, you know, children’s desires or confidentiality when they approach an adult.
Like a counselor at school and also parents do have rights.
They have they have rights with kids under 18.
That’s the status quo.
So counselors are always wrestling with this but here in this language of best Bell, it would really constrained.
Ability to make a professional judgment using their experience, their skills, the ethics of their profession.
And if they followed the letter of this law strictly, they would need to go to the family with pretty much anything big that that a student brings to them.
And they are very worried that students done would not come to them.
And they point out that the student council relationship for some students.
It could be the most accepting or warm adult in their life and their Very concerned about that.
I want to move to the final.
Passage the third passage.
We’re going to discuss today and this is again for those following at home lines 129 through 151 of this bill quote.
If a concern is not resolved by the school district, a parent may bring an action against the school district to obtain a declaratory judgment that the school district procedure or practice violates this paragraph and seek injunctive relief and quote again another boring sounding but I think very Part of the bill.
What did you take from this passage?
So legal experts are saying that this enforcement mechanism which essentially deputizes the public parents to hold schools accountable for this.
Vaguely written law is what makes this very chilling to how adults would talk about these issues and handle these issues in schools because especially for schools that are underfunded.
Did that don’t feel that they can handle lawsuits.
That could be expensive from parents.
They would want to follow the letter of this law, very strictly to avoid lawsuits.
And this is quite similar to other types of laws that we see the right pushing right.
There are critical race Theory laws that also deputized the public to hold schools accountable in this way and we have seen what has happened.
When those have passed schools will preemptively?
Cancel black history of an estate will remove reading materials from shelves, you know, getting rid of books.
So this is something that’s goes will do to avoid litigation.
And this is also similar to the anti-abortion law in Texas, which similarly deputizes the public to tell on people who have access to abortions provided abortions, assisted others in accessing abortion.
This seems to be a new and growing strategy.
Aegean the conservative movement and that law for people who might say, oh, that sounds kind of familiar, Texas passed a law that essentially deputized, as private citizens, allows private citizens to sue people who have had an abortion after six weeks, but also to bring lawsuits against anyone involved in that abortion after the six-week period.
So the doctor, of course, an Uber driver who might take you to the doctor’s office.
Someone who gave financial support to have an abortion, so it creates a web of liability around people seeking.
After six weeks, but rather than the state enforcing the law, it is as you said private citizens who are enticed invited to bring lawsuits against their fellow private citizens.
Tell me how can you imagine?
This might work in Florida.
Parents would be empowered to do what exactly with this law and the deputizing of parents.
You can see the way it’s written will really Empower parents with the most conservative reading of the law.
So, let’s say that you believe Leave.
It is not developmentally appropriate for a 17 year old high school senior to Here about same-sex marriage at school.
You may believe that to be true.
That may be a minority opinion.
But there’s nothing in this law that would prevent you from engaging, the school district in a legal morass.
And while you might not win that lawsuit, just the fact that you would bring it and that could be costly to the district, not just in money, but in time effort, stress anxiety for For everyone involved.
And so that is the process that Educators and legal.
Experts are saying, will cause the chilling effect, right?
That, that makes sense to me because the law is obviously unbelievably imprecise, but it just totally Beggars belief that someone’s going to bring a lawsuit against a teacher.
I can say a straight female teacher saying, my husband picked out my shoes today.
Like no one’s going to like, Sue that teacher for making that comment.
But if the comment is made by a gay teacher, the female teacher says, my wife picked out my shoes today.
It’s more likely that someone is offended.
It’s more likely that someone is agitated and this law similar to the Texas law, gives them legal cover to come at the school district and say, something illegal happened in my students classroom, and you have to either suspended.
Teacher fire, the teacher or otherwise rectify, the situation, so that it never happens again, right?
And schools don’t want to be hit by hit by that, you know, and so, I think that is why it would be a rational response to this law, to Simply avoid lgbtq issues in the classroom.
What’s the next thing that we should watch for?
Do you think it’s a near certainty that Governor DeSantis signs this bill and when he does, is there a next shoe to drop?
Yeah, he has said that he wants to sign it.
So that is what we are expecting.
I think the blowback from Disney and some of the other corporate blowback has been stronger than anticipated.
So, that is a bit of an X Factor here.
But I do expect that he will sign it and we haven’t heard anything different from that from our sources in Florida.
I think, you know, obviously I do expect that some rights groups will challenge this bill and it could lead to further.
Wending through the courts and see what happens with this.
But it’s part of this broader movement to constrain what’s going on in schools right now, many of the same issues that we saw in the Supreme Court hearings this week and Washington with Catania Jackson, so this is not going away.
And that’s Deanna Goldstein of the New York Times.
Now, here to talk about the Ripple effects of this bill on Florida’s most important company Disney, and the implications for the future of companies in an unfolding culture War.
My next guest is Matt Bellamy, Matt Bell and a welcome to the podcast.
Thanks for having me appreciate this extended ringer verse crossover, episode.
Yeah, me too.
I have you.
I love you to start by giving.
Me a short Snappy summary of how Disney is handled the don’t say gay bill because this has bloomed from something that looked like a very small detail to a huge National story.
So take us through the timeline.
What was Disney, CEO, Bob shape, X, initial response to this bill and what happened from there.
So, the short answer is they’ve handled this horribly and people who watch Disney closely as I do and people in the entertainment Community, kind of can’t Leave that they stepped in it.
What happened at the outset was Bob capek.
When he came in, he hired a chief Communications officer who had come from BP and was involved in conservative politics.
Before he has a chief of staff, that is very close to him.
And Arthur bochner.
Who is a former Republican party operative and we don’t know Che Apex personal politics, but it’s pretty clear.
He is more conservative than the previous CEO Bob Iger and they said at the outset that we are going You take a more neutral stance on political issues.
We don’t see the role of Disney to be a political role and we want to be everything to everyone, you know, a version of the old, Michael Jordan line Republicans buy sneakers too.
So that was their strategy.
And the first test of this strategy was this.
Don’t say gay Bill and Disney initially said, you know what, we’re just not going to take a position that went over like a, you know, let to borrow another cartoon.
That is not Disney.
It was like The old Wiley Coyote, we’re literally, it was a box of TNT that just dropped out of bed because the employees just revolted.
This was the creative Community.
Feels very strongly about this issue.
And they see don’t say gay, not as a political issue, but as a human rights and equality issue, so to them, it wasn’t Disney, not taking a position in.
Pull It in politics, it was them failing to back their own employees on an issue of human rights, which was a very big deal too many.
The group’s at the company.
They started putting out statements, the Pixar employees issued a letter that not only condemned his lack of action, but claimed that Disney had decided to censor same-sex.
Emotional content in their movies in the past, and we learned later that it was the same sex kiss in the upcoming Toy Story, prequel called Lightyear which, which has since been reinstated.
But jpeg just was getting it from all sides.
Then they had a shareholder meeting and the shareholders.
Has started bringing up now, if you’ve ever been to a Disney shareholder meeting, you know, that people often ask strange questions.
Like why is Space Mountain always broken down and how can I how can I get my daughter into the you know, the Frozen princess camp, but I want to get her into things like that.
But this was serious.
People were saying why are you not backing your moment, your own employees on a on an important human rights issue.
So jpeg, then did a flip flop and then said he was going to oppose this bill.
They then issued a statement.
He fell on the sword a couple days later and apologized to employee saying, I let you down, you wanted me to have your back.
I’m paraphrasing and I didn’t, he then got into a fight with Florida.
Ron DeSantis over the issue.
It allowed scientists to go on Fox News and to put out statements calling Disney.
A woke Corporation.
The, the actual result of all of this is that the exact opposite thing happened that shape pick wanted which was to stay out of politics.
He ended up being the center of politics, and it’s not over.
If they had walkouts this week at Disney, over this issue and shape had to get on a Town Hall and again, apologize.
And again say that he’s working on their behalf.
And he really I think got a lesson in how to handle these issues at a media company in 2022.
I want to talk a little bit about what you think.
Disney’s reaction here says about Disney.
Like, this is a company and you alluded to this with a long that I would say, complicated relationship with the gay community.
It has a ton of gay fans.
It is also however, an exporter of what I think.
You can safely call a fairly traditional Family Values entertainment.
It doesn’t historically have a lot of gay characters.
As you said there was even controversy about having a gay kiss in the upcoming toy store a prequel, it famously.
In have a lot of out executive directors who show Runners over the course of its multi-decade history.
So how does Disney which once it’s movies?
And it shows too kind of like float effervescent lie above like the hellscape of politics.
How did how is it historically?
Thought about being seen as political in a debate, like this Disney has a very complicated relationship with the lgbtq community, going all the way back to the 80s when you know, same-sex dancing was not allowed at the Parks, and they had a very kind of Midwestern Family Values Type image, and that goes back to Walt Disney himself, who espouse a lot now, Disney has always had a lot of lgbtq employees, and I think you’re seeing those employees voice their power right now with the, you know, with the statements that are being, put out with the walkouts in recent years.
There have been big efforts, like, Pride days at Disneyland.
And there are a number of employee groups at Disney that are Big for lgbtq people.
So they had a much better relationship with that Community lately, but it’s a fascinating thing because Disney is this umbrella brand and people have an emotional connection to it.
Comcast has just as many not as many, but has a ton of employees in Florida.
They operate theme parks at the universal just like Disney does, they’re not being called out.
You’re not seeing Brian Roberts picketed, or, you know, told to issue a statement on this.
It’s Kind of that.
Warner Brothers is not being asked to do this.
Other media companies are not Disney is unique.
It is always been unique.
They take advantage of that uniqueness.
It’s the only brand really that matters in entertainment and movies.
When you go to see a movie, you don’t say, Let’s go see a Warner Brothers movie this weekend, but you see that brand.
You see the Disney brand, you say, okay, this means something it means I can probably take my kid or it’s going to have a certain level of quality that I know is going to be something that my family will be interested in that creates all kinds.
Benefits and all kinds of problems.
So Chip X contract is up for Renewal next.
That is in 10 months.
The stock is down, 30% in the last year.
He’s facing small but public walk out service position on this bill.
He’s taking it from us all sides on, on your earnings calls from his own employees, from his own corporate leaders.
It how bad a look is this 4ch Apec in terms of his potential.
Remain CEO of this company.
I think it’s bad but I don’t think it’s fatal right now.
He’s not people say, oh he’s going to be replaced before.
His contract is up.
I don’t think that’s the case.
I think the board is going to give him a chance in the history of corporate America.
It’s extremely difficult to follow an iconic CEO.
And Bob Iger.
Was that CEO.
He in 15 years at Disney.
He engineered the purchase of Marvel, the purchase of Pixar, the purchase of lucasfilm, the purchase of fox, all of these transformational.
That have really positioned Disney to be a player with the tech companies in this battle for Supremacy.
In digital media.
Che Peck was a 30-year corporate Cog for lack of a better word that, you know, spend a lot of time in parks and Resorts spent some time in, you know, home video.
He was not this guy who was out front and I think the board is going to give him a little bit of leeway to learn the ropes.
I don’t think they’re going to give him Lee Way Beyond his but if things are not going well towards the end of this year.
I think you will see them search for someone new.
But the way things work with with the CEOs is you’ve got to start renegotiating that contract pretty early.
I wouldn’t be surprised.
If this summer, they started to have conversations about what a renewal would look like.
And if there are more controversies, its apex steps in it.
Again, I think perhaps, then we start talking about a change at Disney.
I’m interested in what you see is the ongoing relationship between Bob Shaye Peck.
And Bob Iger because on the one hand as you alluded to like shit back coming into the role.
After what might be the most successful tenure for an entertainment CEO in like the last 50 years.
It’s a really really hard position to fill.
It’s like playing quarterback for the New England.
Patriots after Tom Brady leaves, like if your mediocre, it’s a disaster.
If you’re bad, it’s an absolute Calamity.
So like what do we know right now about the relationship between Che Peck?
And Iger at this point of the crisis.
Well, we know that it’s not great.
We know that CNBC reported that there was an explicit Rift between them over Tigers decision at the onset of the pandemic to essentially come back and take on a leadership role during the crisis because he said, you know, I ran the company for 15 years.
I’m going to be the guy to come in and help this guy get through this crisis.
Jpeg did not feel according to this reporting that he needed.
Any help and you know, it’s like when the guy won’t win the star, won’t leave stage left and it leaves the others, you know, the understudy sitting there in the shadows, still jpeg felt that he was ready to take on this role by himself and having either they’re made it a little bit more difficult and you didn’t see each a peg.
Do this kind of political statement on the neutrality until I girl F tiger officially left at the end of 20 21, and that’s when all this started.
So I think that the relationship there is not good.
Good and, you know, I think everyone’s blaming Che pack but I ge is not blameless here either.
You know, this is a guy who did everything right as CEO except the succession issue, he retired and then unretired several times.
He had a couple of people who were in line to take over for him.
Tom, Staggs Kevin mayor, none of that.
Both those guys left the company and they’re now starting.
They’ve started their own company.
So, you know, uygur has not been great about this.
And it’s, I think shows in Fact that that he and jpeg don’t really get along.
Do you think you’d be more fair to say that the reason Disney is experiencing this crisis right now, is because a CH Apec is so much different than either or be because something has changed in America writ large, whether it’s like the blooming of the culture wars, or the power of workers.
Like, is this more about Jay Peck?
Or is it more about everything outside of Disney in the culture?
I think there’s a couple things going on, and first and foremost.
I think there has been a massive shift in the culture in general, with this new generation of workers in the workforce, where they do expect their companies to take positions and to have their back so to speak.
And that is something that is is I think older Generations, don’t quite understand, but younger Generations.
Do want that out of their employer.
And that’s, that’s culture-wise.
That’s, that’s, you know, It goes beyond media goes beyond Disney, but Disney specifically, the employees.
There have been trained over the Eiger years to expect this kind of behavior where Eiger would take positions.
He was very adamantly against the Trump administration’s ban on Muslim immigrants.
He took a position on that.
He took a position on a bill in Georgia that would have banned abortion at the quote heartbeat stage and that was something that in Disney has a lot of business in Georgia because they make the Marvel movies.
There and employees saw Iger as a Statesman type CEO.
That wasn’t afraid to take positions and and kind of relish did, I mean there was a point where I ge was considering running for president as a Democrat.
So, you know, that was a very serious consideration that he had.
So, you know, I think because Disney employees saw that then they get a bit of whiplash.
When they see Bob jpeg come in and say, no no, we’re not going to do that.
I think it’s a fantastic answer, you know, I wanted to frame the question relatively neutrally.
And hear what you had to say, but I think you actually nailed it.
I think that absolutely something has changed in the last 10 to 20 years.
And that’s something.
Is that the millennial generation is just different young people.
Today, have an expectation that the companies that they work for take political stance.
It’s sort of the flip side of bring your whole self to work that somewhat loathsome phrase that we should, you know, come to work and be ready to reveal our entire ourselves.
We sort of have that expectation of the companies that we work for that, they represent our values and I think, The fundamental mistake that shape pack made and maybe this would have been a mistake in 1983 or 1957, but the fundamental mistake that he made in 2022, is in thinking that you can be non-political when a culture politics War, a culture War swirling around you, like avoiding a culture war or trying to remain silent during a culture war is a political decision.
Like it’s political because no matter what you do, you start a political Chain Reaction.
If you say you’re for the bill, let’s just say it’s we’re talking specifically about this.
If capex says, I’m for the Florida bill, that’s politics.
If he says it’s against the bill.
He’s against the bill that’s politics.
If he says he has no opinion and doesn’t want to speak about the bill.
Well his employees accuse him of coddling anti-gay laws and that is a political accusation.
So I just think that what he fundamentally misunderstood is that there is no decision here.
There is no door that you can open behind which does not exist the sort of chain chain reaction of politics.
And I guess I wonder what you think that that reaction this moment reveals about like how media companies have become set pieces in the culture War today.
The fact that they can’t extricate themselves from the politics that swirling around them.
I think that’s because there are unique components of the creative Community.
Creative, people have always been with exceptions more Progressive than the general population and they consider themselves to be progressives companies like Pixar Prides themselves.
If you Go to Pixar and talk to the employees.
You get a very Progressive sense of, you know, we are advancing the culture and they were absolutely blindsided and upset by this decision, and they weren’t afraid to speak out.
That’s the big difference.
Now, you’re seeing this at companies across the country in the world places like Facebook or even Spotify or other places where if the company doesn’t make a.
If, if you were if the company does something you disagree with you’re no.
Longer afraid to speak up and that letter that the Pixar employees sent was absolutely extraordinary.
I mean, you would have never seen that 10-15 years ago.
They were openly questioning the CEO of the company.
And they were saying, revealing things that were not known in the general public that they had been censored by their employer.
That’s a huge deal.
And I think it made it got reversed.
They were allowed to put the same sex kiss back in the movie.
That’s something that would have never happened before, you know, you just met me.
Think about something, which is that.
In an economy where everyone is access to Facebook and slack and Twitter every employee has the opportunity to be their own micro Media company.
And if this was 1970, someone in Bob shape, Exposition might have said well, no one’s really going to hear the opinion of you know, middle manager.
Number 47 at Disney.
No one is going to care about the opinion of 47 people necessarily in, you know, Orlando.
Or Burbank, but today, like, the employees of Disney are almost just as much media companies is Disney itself.
They have the ability to speak about culture, change culture, and react to it.
And that seems to me, to be, what would he fundamentally misunderstood?
And what a lot of CEOs of a previous generation misunderstand, that fundamentally there is no option to take the, a political position in a lot of these fights.
It’s very likely that if you choose not to comment, That no comment will be interpreted politically and you will have created the very scenario you wish to avoid.
And these people have profiles on social media, you know, Disney’s A high-profile company employs.
A lot of people that are known and they have followings in some cases.
They’re more powerful than the Walt Disney Company itself in terms of getting narratives out there.
And that, you know, that’s something that they they have to deal with.
There are numerous fire, Bob capek hashtags on Twitter right now.
And you know, this is, this is The way people communicate I hear from these people all the time, employees at Disney, who do not care that they are outspoken, and they feel that it is party.
And many of these companies have encourage this Behavior.
There’s been a whole movement in Corporate America towards empowering employees, and making them feel that the company is part of their lives.
Not, you know, not just an employer, but we are a family.
Well, in families people talk and people speak up and if you know, they all, it’s almost like these companies, sometimes want the boy, Boys to consider themselves a family until it gets uncomfortable.
Now, felony, the town podcasts.
Thank you very much, sir.
Good to see you.
Thank you planning this with Derek Thompson is produced by Devon.
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