The death of woke capitalism

The win over woke capitalism results from a strong coalition of organizations

Americans have rocked the woke. Disney recently admitted what every shareholder and reasonable observer has long known: Its activist strategy has negatively impacted its financial situation. 

In its SEC filing, the company revealed, "We face risks relating to misalignment with public and consumer tastes and preferences for entertainment, travel and consumer products.... Further, consumers' perceptions of our position on matters of public interest, including our efforts to achieve certain of our environmental and social goals, often differ widely and present risks to our reputation and brands."

Translation: We goofed when we went full-woke, including skewing Florida's commonsense law to prevent teachers from discussing sexual or gender orientation with kindergartners as "Don't Say Gay" and implementing what one executive called a "not-at-all-secret gay agenda" into programming. 

Disney World entrance

A sign near an entrance to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, on May 22. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Disney's stock price is down more than 50% since early 2021, while the overall market is up about 10% since then. Its recent woke movies have bombed, reportedly losing a combined $1 billion. As George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley put it, The "invisible hand is giving the House of Mouse the middle finger."

DISNEY'S ‘WISH’ FLOPS OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND FOLLOWING SERIES OF BOX OFFICE DISAPPOINTMENTS IN 2023

Disney's demise is just one of many recent victories against woke capitalism. 

Major League Baseball recently announced the 2025 All-Star Game will be held in Atlanta. This marks a major course correction after MLB pulled the 2021 game from the city due to political activists who mischaracterized Georgia legislation that made it easy to vote but hard to cheat as racist. 

Georgia's election laws haven't changed since then, indicating MLB's decision is a tacit admission it erred in 2021.

Financial giant Blackrock recently announced it is pulling back from its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) agenda. According to journalist Charlie Gasparino's sources, Blackrock's PR and marketing teams are scrambling to reorient the company's ESG strategy due to backlash. 

DISNEY INDICTS ITS WOKE SELF WITH FOUNDER'S OWN WORDS IN NEWLY PUBLISHED BOOK

In August, S&P Global said it would stop rating securities based on ESG criteria. And Vanguard pulled out of the global climate finance alliance called the Net Zero Managers Initiative. 

A recent Wall Street Journal analysis finds ESG mentions on company earnings calls have plummeted over the last year. ESG's fraternal twin DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is also on the wane, with companies shedding their chief diversity officers. According to Jason Hanold, chief executive of Hanold Associates Executive Search, diversity officer demand is at a 30-year low. The Supreme Court's June affirmative action ruling has only accelerated this trend.

In other sporting news, the National Hockey League announced a ban on players wearing activist jerseys on the ice this season. 

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More broadly, companies and CEOs have largely stopped taking woke stances that alienate half their customer base. The transgender craze has mercifully died down. 

The win over woke capitalism results from a strong coalition of organizations, including the Boardroom Initiative, which we chaired, fighting to make the case for the proper role of businesses in society. Our "No Mouse in My House" and "Rock the Woke" campaigns helped educate Americans about the problems of mixing business with political activism. 

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This victory can serve as a blueprint for how conservatives and moderates can win on other vital issues facing the country, including tax cuts, deregulation, sound money and fixing the national debt. We have the right arguments on our side. We just need the coalition and communications to share them and break through the mainstream media's filter.

Disney has a new Christmas movie out called "The Naughty Nine." It sexualizes kids and is full of activist messages. Consumers should continue to punish Disney for its agenda programming by staying home and watching the Christmas classics instead. No one wants the death of woke capitalism to turn out exaggerated. 

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Brad Anderson is the former CEO and vice chairman of Best Buy. Ed Rensi is the former president and CEO of McDonald's USA, where he retired in 1997, and the former executive chairman of FAT Brands, where he retired in 2023. They were chairmen of the Boardroom Initiative, a project of Job Creators Network.

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