Disney and Lucasfilm Could Learn from the Netflix and Warner Bros Layoffs

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney Plus is making waves on social media and in the Star Wars fandom, but for all the wrong reasons.

Once again, Lucasfilm’s PR and marketing staff felt that they should chastise Star Wars fandom using an official account.

Once again, they faced the backlash of a divided fandom.

The firestorm was kicked off when it was revealed that Reva actress Moses Ingram was warned by Lucasfilm that she’d likely get backlash from some fans simply for being a Black actress.

Before I go any further, I want to denounce racism. I shouldn’t have to even have to say it, because it’s 2022 and we’re all adults. But we’re talking about angry social media users, and many social media users these days have the mental capacity of a small child.

Racism should be denounced, and companies should support their employees if they’re facing legitimate racist abuse.

No doubt Moses Ingram has faced racism in her lifetime. I am not her and cannot speak to her experience.

However, Lucasfilm’s tweet could easily be taken to mean that the company truly believes a good portion of the Star Wars fanbase are, in fact, racist.

This, despite the fact that POC characters are some of the most beloved in all of Star Wars, and have been for decades. Even Darth Vader himself was voiced by a Black man.

More recently, Rosario Dawson, a POC actress portraying a very popular character previously voiced by a white woman, faced severe backlash on social media over an altercation with a trans family friend.

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano

Lucasfilm did not pre-emptively try to stop fans from attacking her because of her race — or at all –that I can remember.

(Did whoever was running the Star Wars Twitter account at the time feel Dawson actually deserved the copious amounts of hate she got? I would hate to think it.)

The official Star Wars Twitter account doubled down on the ‘racist fan’ sentiment when they encountered more pushback from users. This is not the response of a brand account representing one of the biggest franchises in cinematic history. This is a petulant child who is delighting in the power of the platform they’ve been given.

If this were an individual expressing their own opinions, it would be more forgivable. But Disney — and Lucasfilm in particular — is having a really hard time with their employees keeping their hot takes to themselves for the good of the brand.

And it’s absolutely hurt them. Star Wars has been damaged so much more than Disney’s other properties.

Box office duds, Galaxy’s Edge initially landing with a thud and its luxury hotel becoming a laughingstock. It’s become very obvious even to casuals that Star Wars isn’t living up to its full potential, that even mainstream media is calling it out.

Publicly assuming the worst about one of the most dedicated fandoms in history is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way, regardless of how they actually feel about the Obi-Wan Kenobi series itself.

‘Execute Order TADUM!’

Netflix and Warner Bros Discovery saw an opportunity to refocus their efforts on making profitable shows and movies. And part of that initiative means cleaning house of personnel that are actively harming the company’s reputation.

Netflix used a decline in subscribers and a loss of stock value as an excuse to, frankly, terminate employees they probably didn’t really want anyway.

Weeks before the layoffs, the company put out a memo that if their activism-minded employees were so offended by the content the company produced for its paying customers, that rather than change the company culture they could just leave.

In other words… please leave on your own, so we don’t have to fire you for the good of the company and deal with the fallout.

Netflix Headquarters (Photo: THR)

Warner Bros Discovery, under David Zaslav, has been brutally cutting divisions and staff. No corner of the Warner empire is safe. CNN+ was chopped after only three weeks.

With the economy seemingly headed into recession, and the streaming wars heating up, Disney needs every advantage to fire on all cylinders if it not only wants to survive, but thrive.

Some Lucasfilm marketing people are actively participating in anti-marketing, and it might be a good time for Disney to take a look around and see who is actually helping the company make money for its stockholders, and who is just dead weight.

Just a thought.

 

This piece is an Op-Ed and does not reflect the opinions of other contributors on ClownfishTV.com, our advertisers or sponsors.

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Thom 'Kneon' Pratt

A 'sassy chud' and the most dangerous bobbing cartoon head on YouTube. Cartoonist, Co-host of Clownfish TV, Owner of Clownfish Studios and Publisher of ClownfishTV.com. Opinions MINE.

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1 comment

  • As you’ve said in your videos Disney will be the one of if not the last company to reverse course on this attacking the fans. One can hope that Disney finds a Zaslav like CEO soon to start clearing dead wood.

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