The public relations executive for entertainment behemoth Disney and who held a key role in the company’s ill-fated response to the passage of a Florida law banning public school teachers from discussing woke gender and sex fluidity theories is calling it quits after less than four months on the job.
Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Geoff Morrell, who was responsible for the company initially taking a politically neutral response on the “Parental Rights in Education” bill — mischaracterized intentionally by Democrats and their media allies as “Don’t Say Gay” — noted in a letter CNBC obtained that he and the job were a bad fit.
Following Morrell’s response, which drew no small amount of heat from what was likely a small but vocal minority of Disney employees, the company later came out in opposition of the bill, leading to more outcry and outrage as well as a plunge in the company’s stock. Also, in response to Disney’s criticism, the GOP-controlled Florida legislature passed a bill that GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis signed stripping Disney of its special tax breaks and self-governing status at its Orlando-based theme park.
“After three months in this new role, it has become clear to me that for a number of reasons it is not the right fit,” Morrell said in the letter. “After talking this over with [Disney CEO] Bob [Chapek], I have decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”
Geoff Morrell Out as Disney Communications Chief – After Less Than 4 Months
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) April 29, 2022
The Daily Wire adds:
Newcomer Kristina Schake, a veteran of the Obama and Biden administrations as well as Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, has taken over Disney’s communications office and reports directly to Chapek, CNBC reported. Schake has “oversight for corporate and segment communications and continue to be our chief spokesperson,” Chapek told Disney staff.
Morrell, a former ABC White House correspondent and Pentagon spokesman under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, took the job Jan. 24 after a stint at oil giant BP. He quickly ensnared the company in controversy when he advised Chapek to go public with Disney’s reasons for not taking a stand on the Florida legislation critics inaccurately called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. But Chapek’s open letter enraged a cadre of woke, LGBTQ employees, and the CEO soon backtracked.
Sources close to Morrell told CNBC the executive warned the company to stay out of the controversy, fretting that it could open the door to accusations of hypocrisy due to Disney’s close ties with China’s oppressive communist party leadership. Morrell also worried that a stance against the Florida bill would bring withering criticism from former President Trump and DeSantis, which proved prescient.
Chapek was forced to apologize and grovel for forgiveness from the tiny but loud minority of LGBTQ activist employees who, frankly, should have been given the option instead to keep their mouths shut and remain employed or be shown the door.
Either way, what ensued was a disaster: Disney stock has sunk from a 52-week high of $190 to just $111 amid the controversy, costing the company tens of billions in market capitalization, as well as its special governing status.
To the latter point, DeSantis vowed on Thursday that he and the GOP legislature are not finished with Disney.
“There’s going to be additional legislative action,” said the governor during a town hall-style event in Orlando with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “We’ve contemplated that. We know what we’re going to do, so stay tuned. That’ll all be apparent.”