Disney, Netflix, and Spotify are all about “corporate culture” in addition to falling stock prices

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Chapek is tackling another PR problem following the surprise exit of top TV executive Peter Rice, adding to a list of ethics-fueled controversies facing large corporations including Netflix ( NFLX) and Spotify (SPOT).

Rice, who served as president of Disney General Entertainment Content after joining the company in 2019, was reportedly fired from Chapek last week over issues related to his cultural adaptation.

Long considered a possible successor to Chapek by insiders, Rice’s contract was recently renewed although it didn’t expire until late 2024. Rice was replaced by his lieutenant, Dana Walden.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 11: Peter Rice attends the Disney + premiere “Sneakerella” on May 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin / WireImage)

The announcement fueled further questions about Chapek’s controversial tenure, with industry veterans criticizing the decision.

“Chapek just made another huge mistake,” an industry executive told The Hollywood Reporter.

“It’s not good for the company. The morale is terrible,” added another.

Disney has expressed its support for the beleaguered CEO.

“The strength of The Walt Disney Company’s business as it emerges from the pandemic is a testament to Bob’s leadership and vision for the future of the company,” said board chairman Susan Arnold. “In this important time of business growth and transformation, we are committed to keeping Disney on the path of success it has taken today, and Bob and his leadership team have the support and trust of the board.”

Disney shares have fallen 39% so far in 2022.

Chapek’s Bumpy Mandate

Immediately after replacing longtime executive Bob Iger in 2020, Chapek reorganized his media and entertainment businesses, a controversial move that has upset longtime veterans and reportedly “confused” workers.

Chapek has also engaged in a public battle with “Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson, who is suing the company for “breach of contract” after deciding to distribute the Marvel movie on Disney + the same day it came out. in the halls. Johansson and Disney eventually settled.

More recently, Chapek found himself in the political crossfire of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who revoked the company’s special tax district following Disney’s unfavorable reaction to the Parental Rights in Education Act, or what critics have dubbed the design. by law “Don’t Say Gay”.

Chapek, who had initially decided not to speak publicly on the issue, has decided to work behind the scenes in an effort to soften the legislation. It did not work.

The executive eventually reversed course following intense backlash and a series of strikes organized by employees. Chapek publicly denounced the deed at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on March 9 and apologized directly to employees in a company note.

Disney employee Nicholas Maldonado holds a placard as he protests outside Walt Disney World on March 22, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Octavio Jones / Getty Images)Disney employee Nicholas Maldonado holds a placard as he protests outside Walt Disney World on March 22, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Octavio Jones / Getty Images)

Disney employee Nicholas Maldonado holds a placard as he protests outside Walt Disney World on March 22, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Octavio Jones / Getty Images)

However, Chapek was criticized for taking a soft stance and the apology was considered by many to be too little, too late.

Lee Cockerell, former executive vice president of operations for Walt Disney World Resort, previously said Yahoo Finance CEOs must “stand up” on political issues, adding that “politics is only part of life … not you can avoid it. “

“[Chapek] he probably thinks so now and I think so too… he should have quit right away, “Cockerell said.” You can’t wait a week to decide how to respond, “Cockerell said.

Cockerell added that Disney’s culture of promoting an inclusive workforce involves the expectation of “standing up and supporting everyone,” further underscoring the clash between Disney employees and Chapek’s leadership style.

Netflix: Not everyone will like or agree with our content

Disney isn’t the only media giant dealing with leadership and cultural issues alongside free-fall titles.

Join Netflix, which has seen its shares drop by nearly 71% in 2022 so far.

The streaming company recently updated its corporate culture guidelines for the first time since 2017, clarifying its position as a pure gaming media giant.

The platform wrote that “not everyone will like or agree with everything about our service”. Rather, “we leave it up to viewers to decide what’s appropriate for them, instead of having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”

Netflix added that some employees may need to work on titles they “perceive as malicious”, warning, “if you find it difficult to support our breadth of content, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

The update follows last year’s employee abandonment for the release of “The Closer,” Dave Chappelle’s controversial comic special that critics considered transphobic.

Dave Chappelle attends the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 20, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)Dave Chappelle attends the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 20, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)

Dave Chappelle attends the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 20, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)

At the time, Netflix defended the special with co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos by sending a letter to employees saying in part, “While some employees disagree, we firmly believe that content on screen doesn’t match. directly translate into real-harm to the world. “

Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, who was the company’s first head from its inception in 1997 to 2003, told Yahoo Finance he supports Netflix’s transparency decision, saying the cultural update “doesn’t sound like that. dear “.

All businesses should continue to be “honest and clear” when it comes to official positions on various issues, he continued, and ultimately “let the customers decide.”

Randolph further explained that previously “it was very easy to ignore these problems or find a way to overcome them [but] it got harder and harder, “adding,” Thank goodness I’m not the CEO of a large media company today. “

Spotify: We will not “assume the position of content censor”

Spotify faced its own debate on content censorship earlier this year.

The platform has been criticized for hosting Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast, which critics have criticized for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccinations. The stock is also down 57% since the beginning of the year.

Notable artists such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren, David Crosby and Stephen Stills, among others, have withdrawn their music from the platform in an effort to oust Rogan, Spotify’s by far most popular personality, with 11 million listeners. .

Eventually, the platform sided with Rogan as Spotify CEO Daniel Ek reiterated that the company would not “take the position of content censor”.

And despite the controversy, the service continued to add users, beating Wall Street estimates by reporting 422 million monthly users in the first quarter.

However, in an interview with Yahoo Finance, CFRA analyst John Freeman denounced Spotify’s “sloppy handling” of the dispute, saying it has tightened his fundamental view of the company.

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Food Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @ alliecanal8193 and email her to [email protected]

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Download the Yahoo Finance app for Apple or Android

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedInAnd Youtube