Bob Chapek Out as Disney CEO Months After Fight with DeSantis

November 21, 2022 Updated 11:50 AM ET

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek (left, Walt Disney Television), Gov. Ron DeSantis (right, Gage Skidmore).
Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek (left, Walt Disney Television), Gov. Ron DeSantis (right, Gage Skidmore).

BURBANK, Calif. (FLV) – Bob Chapek, after serving as Disney’s CEO for just a couple years, is being replaced by former CEO Bob Iger not long after the company’s reputation took a hit post-“Don’t Say Gay” battle with Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida government.

“The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period,” Susan Arnold, Disney’s chairman of the board, said.

Chapek’s tenure is described as being “riddled in controversy,” namely the political battle in Florida. The company’s share prices are also down.

“I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO,” Iger said. He was previously CEO for 15 years.

The Florida governor signed HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education Act, earlier this year, which aims to prohibit class instruction containing topics of sexual orientation and gender identity for grades K-3. The Mouse chimed in, vowing to get the law ‘repealed,’ to which DeSantis declared, “We run the state of Florida, not them.”

Soon after, a special session of the Florida legislature resulted in a new law disbanding the Reedy Creek Improvement District – Disney’s self-governing district in Central Florida encompassing Walt Disney World – being touted by Republicans after the corporation’s vows to overturn the law many described as ‘anti-grooming.’

“I am not comfortable having one company with their own government and special privileges when that company has pledged itself to attacking the parents in my state when that company has people very high up talking about injecting pansexualism into programming for young kids,” DeSantis said. “It’s wrong. Walt Disney would not want that.”

Disney+ domestic growth slowed to a near halt a few months after the battle, and polls found Disney’s reputation plummeted after opposing HB 1557.

“Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe—most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration,” Iger said in a statement. “I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.”

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