Disney is poised to rank among the worst-performing stocks in 2022 after the company became embroiled in a high-profile political controversy.
|DIS||THE WALT DISNEY CO.||115.18||-0.62||-0.54%|
The stock reached an all-time high in March 2021, trading at nearly $200 per share. But it has been in free fall ever since. As the market closed Thursday, the stock was hovering near $120 per share – down roughly 33% from a year ago.
The company has been in the spotlight in recent weeks after it publicly opposed a bill Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed that prohibits classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with children in third grade or younger “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
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The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would dissolve Walt Disney’s special governing power in the state, a move that could have huge tax implications for Disney, one of the state’s largest private employers with more than 60,000 workers. The bill now heads to DeSantis’ desk.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek, 61, was roundly criticized for how he handled the bill. LGBT advocates said he was slow to speak out, with some walking off the job in protest. Others called on Chapek to take back his “antagonistic” comments against the bill and to stop “cowering to a small political minority.”
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Chapek’s handling of past conflicts has also seen its share of criticism, per The New York Post. He is also reported to have a strained relationship with the company’s former CEO Bob Iger.
Disney is also bogged down by investors’ diminishing enthusiasm for streaming services as inflation eats into America’s pocketbooks. Netflix shares, in particular, dropped 35% this week on the news that the streaming platform had lost 200,000 subscribers.
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FOX Business has reached out to Disney for comment and will update this story accordingly.