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Asked whether Disney would stay out of politics, CEO Bob Iger said that the company is not out to “advance any kind of agenda,” but rather is focused on entertainment. 

“Our job is to entertain first and foremost, and by telling great stories, we continue to have a positive impact on the world and inspire future generations, just as we’ve done for over 100 years. Disney has always been and will continue to be a source of hope, joy and optimism for people of all ages. We’re committed to telling stories that reflect the world around us and using those stories to entertain people from all walks of life,” Iger said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday. 

“I’ve always believed that we have a responsibility to do good in the world. But we know our job is not to advance any kind of agenda. So as long as I’m in the job, I’m going to continue to be guided by a sense of decency and respect. And we will always trust our instincts,” he continued. 

The comments come after proposals from different shareholders asking Disney to alternatively stay out of progressive politics, with particular critique levied at Iger, and to be more progressive with the political candidates and causes it gives money to. Both proposals failed after votes by shareholders. 

The company has been party to a series of high-profile political fights in Florida, after Disney, then led by Bob Chapek, began speaking out against the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits schools from teaching gender and sexuality through the third grade. Disney alleges that Gov. Ron DeSantis retaliated against them by hand-picking the board to oversee the company’s special district. The company filed suit against the state and pulled plans to build a major office complex in Orlando. The two sides recently reached a settlement in the matter.

Activist investor Nelson Peltz, whose bid for two seats on the Disney board failed Wednesday, had also accused the company of pursuing a “woke” film strategy by debuting the Black Panther franchise, with a largely Black cast, and with the premiere of The Marvels, which featured all-female superheros. 

Disney pushed back against that critique at the time, saying that Peltz did not understand the company and pointing to the fact that Marvel films, under leader Kevin Feige, generated about $30 billion in global box office revenue.

Iger’s comments at the shareholder meeting reiterate the CEO’s remarks at a Nov. 29 Dealbook summit where he noted, “Creators lost sight of what their No. 1 objective needed to be … We have to entertain first. It’s not about messages.”

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