Marathons are a test of endurance and fortitude, a chance to test one’s body and mind. They’re also a great place to see the kinds of witty, viral moment-worthy signs that spectators often bring to show their support for the runners. This is especially true for Walt Disney World’s Marathon – though one such supporter used their sign to not only cheer on the marathoners, but also level some criticism at the House of Mouse’s new boss, Bob Chapek.
Hopefully, the Disney CEO wasn’t hanging out in Magic Kingdom during the most recent marathon. If he was, he may have seen a homemade sign that was equal parts supportive (of the runners) and brutal (towards him). A user shared an image of it to Twitter:
Friend of mine is running the Disney Marathon this morning. He ran by this in Magic Kingdom. 😬 pic.twitter.com/chiuLDb6NLJanuary 9, 2022
Whoever made this sign took a “two birds, one stone” approach to their messaging – and that message was clear. Bob Chapek replaced Bob Iger as the corporation's CEO in February 2020. In the spring of 2020, The New York Times reported that Iger, who was still on the board of directors, was still playing a huge role in the creative direction at Disney, despite no longer being the top executive there. His tenure on the board ended at the end of 2021.
While his successor hasn’t even been in the CEO role at Disney for a year, he’s faced criticism from fans on more than one occasion, and their complaints are wide-ranging. To many, he didn’t get off on the right foot when it comes to Disney’s most popular film franchises. He was in hot water for calling the release strategy for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings an experiment – he even earned the ire of the film’s star, Simu Liu. After Scarlett Johannson sued the Walt Disney Company last year over a breach of her Black Widow contract, many fans sided with the actress and weren’t shy about letting the company know how they felt. (Marvel’s Kevin Feige jumped to the exec's defense after the lawsuit was settled, for what it’s worth.)
But the negative feedback for Bob Chapek doesn’t just stop with the studio's film properties themselves. Fans have also been dissatisfied with aspects of the company's streaming service – and despite complaints about the price, Chapek has doubled down on their business model.
Then, there are the changes at Disney Parks, which the businessman oversaw before he was promoted. In the months since the theme parks have reopened following the pandemic, there have been some significant changes to core aspects of the experience like the FastPass, which has been replaced. These changes have been met with a wave of backlash. If the comments on a video introducing the new system are any indication, many fans lay the blame at Chapek’s feet.
Between the YouTube comments and the marathon sign alone, it’s clear that fans have a list of grievances for Disney’s new CEO. And they apparently aren’t afraid to air them, even if they have to get creative to do so.
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