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Disney CEO shuts down anti-LGBTQ critic

Bob Chapek attributes the drop in Disney stock to the coronavirus, not LGBTQ content.
Image: FILE PHOTO: Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, speaks during the 10th anniversary ceremony of Hong Kong Disneyland in Hong Kong
Bob Chapek, shown in 2015, became CEO of Disney last month. Tyrone Siu / Reuters file

The CEO of the Walt Disney Company shut down an LGBTQ critic who claimed that the company is losing money because its products "promote LGBT ideology."

During a shareholding meeting Wednesday, Caroline Farrow, an anti-LGBTQ activist, asked Disney CEO Bob Chapek if it was "perhaps time to see what you can do to make Disney more family friendly" and "safe for people around the world, not just one minority" given that the company's stock price has recently plummeted.

She also brought up concerns that the more than 400,000 people who signed a petition asking Disney to avoid hosting Pride events were not being heard.

Chapek, who replaced Bob Iger as CEO of Disney last month, dismissed Fallow's objections in his response, stating that Disney believes in reflecting the diversity of its fanbase in its creative content. He added that producing inclusive projects will only become an increased priority for the company in the future.

"We believe we want to tell stories that our audience wants to hear that reflects their lives," Chapek said.

As for why Disney's stock has recently decreased, Chapek attributed it to the coronavirus, which has caused global markets to drop, not LGBTQ content.

“In terms of the stock price, there’s a lot of reasons why the stock price might be down ... that has nothing to do with the issue you raised," Chapek said. "It might have more to do with coronavirus and the worldwide pandemic that we’re facing.”

According to the media advocacy group GLAAD, Walt Disney Studios has been behind all the other major film studios the group has been tracking since 2012 in terms of on-screen LGBTQ representation, even though the company has showed signs of progress by including LGBTQ moments in films like "Avengers: Endgame" and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." Disney also recently made history with "Onward," an animated film that features an openly lesbian character voiced by Lena Waithe.

A number of upcoming Disney projects are slated to include LGBTQ characters, including "The Eternals" and "Thor: Love and Thunder" in response to the fans who have urged the company to avoid tokenism and embrace fuller inclusion.

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