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Disney Now In Chaos: Axes Executive Who Decided to Take on Florida Gov. DeSantis Over School Policy

    Disney has backed away from its once-vocal criticism of the media-contrived “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which could more accurately be called the “Don’t Sexually Groom Our Kids” bill. (The bill actually says nothing about LGBTQ matters and forbids all sexual topics from being taught K-3)

    Now, after a backlash that saw the removal of Disney’s privileged status in Florida, the current CEO Bob Chapek is axing the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Geoff Morrell, a former Pentagon spokesperson.

    “The hope at the highest level is that Morrell’s removal and the new reorganization will allow the media giant to come out from underneath the falling debris of the current situation,” Deadline reported.

    Here is Chapek’s memo to staff:

    Team- I am writing to share the news that Geoff Morrell, our Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Fortunately, the strength and experience of our existing leadership team—including relatively new all-star hires—means there is no shortage of talent to guide our reputation-driving functions. With Geoff’s departure, I am pleased to share the following changes:

    First, Kristina Schake will lead The Walt Disney Company’s communications efforts, serving as our Executive Vice President, Global Communications reporting directly to me. In this expanded role, Kristina will have oversight for corporate and segment communications and continue to be our chief spokesperson. Our business segment and content communications leads will continue to dual report to both division leadership and corporate communications, now led by Kristina.

    We are incredibly fortunate to have Kristina with us at this important time. Her 30-plus years of experience includes roles leading President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine education program, communications for Instagram, and leadership positions in political campaigns and the Obama White House. Kristina has a strategic approach and collaborative style, as well as relentless optimism and a strong appreciation of our brand and its place in the world. These attributes will be invaluable as she works to protect and enhance our reputation, and I am thrilled to be working with her more closely.

    Next, Government Relations and Global Public Policy will now be led by our General Counsel, Horacio Gutierrez. Since joining the company earlier this year, Horacio has integrated seamlessly into the Disney family, and has quickly become a valued advisor to me and the leadership team on a wide range of issues. His extensive experience leading these areas will be incredibly useful in driving our efforts.

    In addition to his current direct reports, Susan Fox, Senior Vice President for Government Relations, and Yvonne Pei, Senior Vice President, External Relations, Greater China, will join Dorothy Attwood, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy, in reporting directly to Horacio.

    Finally, Jenny Cohen, Executive Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, will now report solely to me in her role leading our CSR and ESG efforts. Jenny is a strong leader, and has done incredible work modernizing our approach in key areas like environmental sustainability, community investment, and philanthropy.

    I am incredibly confident in this team, and look forward to working with them and all of our leadership to set Disney’s course for the next 100 years of extraordinary entertainment and experiences.

    As Deadline noted, Biden administration insider and recent Disney addition Kristina Schake will now handle Disney communications efforts. The entertainment media-government incest continues to grow, following in the footsteps of the Obamas‘ addition to Netflix’s production board.

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in mid-April announced that the state legislature would be ending special protections for Disney’s Florida operations.

    “I’d also like to make another announcement before we get into the subject of today’s program,” DeSantis said. “I think as many of, you know, the Florida legislature is meeting this week to consider the congressional reapportionment plan for Florida for the next 10 years. And that is what they’ve been called upon to do.”

    “But I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what they are going to be considering this week,” he continued. “And so yes, they will be considering the congressional map, but they also will be considering termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968. And that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”

    Reedy Creek Improvement District currently functions as its own government, and provides its own fire protection, emergency services, utilities, and planning services for the Disney World property.

    “There are certain entities that have exerted a lot of influence through corporate means to generate special privileges in the law,” DeSantis said in early April. “I don’t think we should have special privileges in the law at all.”

    Disney has lost nearly $50 billion since it began its war with Florida.


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