May 20, 2022
Former Disney head of corporate affairs Geoff Morrell

Geoff Morrell, head of corporate affairs at Disney, is leaving the company after just three months. The departure, announced by CEO Bob Chapek, comes following a brief tenure shrouded in controversy.

Morrell’s short time with Disney was marred by the company’s response to Florida’s “don’t say gay” law, banning the teaching of LGBT+ themes to younger students. Disney faced fierce criticism for initially failing to speak out against the law, a decision Morrell was directly responsible for in his role.

Kristina Schake will take over the company’s communications efforts, Chapek said in an email announcing the decision, whilst Disney’s general counsel Horacio Gutierrez will head up government relations and global public policy.

Morrell himself accepted that the position was not working out, saying it was not the “right fit” in an email to staff.

“It has become clear to me that for a number of reasons it is not the right fit,” he wrote. “I have decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”

In response to criticism over its failure to speak out against the legislation, Chapek had acknowledged the need to be a “stronger ally in the fight for equal rights”, stating that Disney had worked behind the scenes to influence the legislation but accepting this did not go far enough.

Following an initial distant response the company did show strong opposition when the legislation was signed into law on March 28th, issuing a statement saying that it “should never have passed”.

In response Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on April 22nd stripping the company of its self-governing authority at its Orlando-area parks, an apparent retaliation described as “childish” by opponents of the law.