There’s a saying, and I don’t know who coined it, but it goes something like, “Go woke; go broke.” I do know that former president Donald Trump said that “everything woke turns to s**t.”
One company that’s learning this lesson the hard way — even though nobody there will admit it publicly — is Disney. David Ng at Breitbart is reporting that The Walt Disney Company has lost a whopping $63 billion in market capitalization over the past two months.
“Shares of Disney have plummeted 23.5 percent since the start of March, falling from $145.70,” Ng writes. “Market cap is down $62.6 billion, from $265.3 to $202.7 billion.”
(For the uninitiated, Investopedia defines market capitalization as “the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock. Commonly referred to as ‘market cap,’ it’s calculated by multiplying the total number of a company’s outstanding shares by the current market price of one share.”)
I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to wrap my head around losing that kind of money. I freak out if I lose a $20 bill, so losing tens of billions because I took a political position that appeases a percentage of my workforce and a smaller percentage of the world at large at the expense of everybody else would be disastrous. That amount of money may be chump change to Disney, but it’s still nearly a quarter of its market cap.
Disney’s stock has performed poorly over the past several months, dropping 30% over the past year.
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) April 20, 2022
Much, though not all, of this stems directly from Disney’s decision to speak out on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which the legislature passed into law and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed at the end of March. The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media falsely dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which triggered the LGBTQ lobby among Disney cast members to pressure CEO Bob Chapek to stick the company’s nose into the state’s business.
DeSantis and the Florida legislature decided to fight fire with fire, and they voted to end the 1967 special improvement act that allowed Disney to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District and essentially act as its own government over the Walt Disney World property.
On top of Disney’s newfound woke activism, the public found out that some of Disney’s creative executives are dedicated to doubling down on LGBTQ content for kids and families. Disney cast members who don’t agree with that agenda made their voices heard, but that didn’t matter to executives. And then Disney began to question beloved long-time characters as “potentially problematic” for the most ridiculous reasons.
All of this wokeness on Disney’s part has backfired, to the point where CEOs of other companies of all sizes are viewing Disney’s antics as an example of what not to do.
Now Disney is paying the financial price for its woke turn. Disney may never admit its fault in all this — if the company does back off from wokeness, which I expect it to do eventually, it’ll do it without fanfare — but the damage has been done. There’s no way for Disney to take back its politically charged statements or fix the harm it’s done to its brand.