Fact Check-Fabricated statement about company going ‘woke’ attributed to Disney CEO originated as satire

A satirical article featuring a purported statement of Walt Disney’s Chief Executive Officer is circulating online, with some users interpreting the content as authentic.

The story entitled “After Devastating Losses, Disney CEO Admits Company Made ‘A Huge Mistake’ Going Woke” was originally published by website USA TATERS ( ). In its About Us section, it includes a disclaimer that says the page is a “subsidiary of the ‘America’s Last Line of Defense’ network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery or as Snopes called it before they lost their war on satire: Junk News” ( ).

A screenshot of the story and the text, however, have been since replicated on social media without attribution to the website or any mention of the content being satire .( here ) ( here ) ( here ) ( here ).

Comments from users that appear to take the article as an authentic report include: “Good! You deserve to be run out of business!,” “Too late damage done” and “DUH!! Is he really regretting or onceagainsayng (sic) whatever will make the money?”

Walt Disney’s Chief Executive is Bob Chapek ( here ), but the satirical piece identifies the company’s CEO as “Joe Barron.”

According to fact checker Lead Stories, the names “Joe Barron” along with “Sandy Batt” are regularly featured in articles of the Patriot Party Press, also a subsidiary of American Last Line of Defense, to identify characters in their satirical stories ( here ).

Reuters identified stories published in USA TATERS that feature these names. Examples are viewable ( ) ( ) ( ).

The cover image in the article does not show Chapek, but previous Disney CEO Bob Iger who stepped down from the role in 2020 ( here ). It can be seen on Getty Images ( here ).

Reuters previously addressed a fabricated claim that Disney shareholders lost $2.4 billion in stock value in one day, which also stemmed from a satirical website ( here ).

The stock price of the Walt Disney Company (DIS.N) is tracked by Reuters and is viewable (here).

The articles appears to be a nod to Disney’s response to a Republican-backed bill that bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for many young students, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill ( here ).

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has accused Disney of being "woke" because the company publicly opposed the legislation after the employee backlash ( here ) ( here ).


Satire. An article entitled “After Devastating Losses, Disney CEO Admits Company Made ‘A Huge Mistake’ Going Woke” was originally published by satirical website USA TATERS.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work   here.