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DisneyIdeas/Commentary

Disney CEO Bob Iger Still Enthusiastic About Climbing Into Bed With Trump

Earlier this week, after the Walt Disney Company released its first quarter earnings, CEO Bob Iger confirmed that he still plans to work with president Donald Trump.

Some had hoped that after Iger skipped out on a meeting with the president last week, he would follow the lead of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and leave Trump’s business advisory council for good.

But Iger confirmed his intentions to pursue a relationship with Trump in this CNBC interview:

He laid out the reasons for wanting to get on Trump’s good side:

“As a member of the business community, it’s a great opportunity for me to have a direct pipeline to the president and the senior members of his team.…I have a real good opportunity to be the sole representative of our industry on a number of very important issues: intellectual property protection, trade-related issues, specifically for Disney obviously any changes in the tax law could have a profound impact on our bottomline. The corporate tax rate is the highest in the world, and we pay a very high corporate tax rate and believe that it is time for that to re-examined, and that could potentially be a real boon to the Walt Disney Company.

He also mentioned the importance of getting in Trump’s ear about avoiding a trade war with China, which would do “short-term damage” to Disney’s businesses.

As we’ve made the point before, Iger misunderstands his role as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company; the CEO of Disney cannot just represent the business concerns of company, but must also represent the ethics and values that the Disney brand sells to families around the world.

People throughout the world associate the Disney name and brand with the highest level of quality branded content with an emphasis on family entertainment. Trump’s audiotape confession of being a sexual predator as well as his well-documented history of misogyny, religious discrimination, and bigotry does not complement the expectations that people have of the Walt Disney Company brand.

Iger cozying up to Trump shows a blatant disregard for Disney’s own brand integrity guidelines, and trivializes the messages of tolerance and self-empowerment that Disney sells to children in its films like Zootopia and Frozen.

As Iger points out in the interview, he’s the “sole representative” of the entertainment industry currently talking to Trump. There’s a very good reason for that; hopefully the Walt Disney Company recognizes that before it’s too late.

  • Roy

    in January 2015, as published by AOL Originals, a recorded video session at his executive CEO office at the Walt Disney Company, Robert Iger had provided public testimony in which he proudly declared that several decades ago, he had used the material of corruption against his prior “boss” at ABC television with which to obtain a better job within the company, – and that is what eventually lead to him to obtain his current CEO position at the Walt Disney Company. Surprisingly in the video recording, Robert Iger’s chilling message reveals he had never turned in his boss at ABC for corruption. Instead Robert Iger boasts he had used this information of corruption against his boss with which to seemingly blackmail his boss and advance his own career with ABC, of which was eventually purchased by the Walt Disney Company in 1995, where Michael Eisner became Robert Iger’s new boss. – Google “Robert Iger Chris Paul Win Win” (See time at 4:30 through 5:35)

    HERE IS the transcript-quote of Robert Iger – “…early on in my career at ABC, I was twenty-three years old.., I had a boss that was corrupt. And he wanted me to help him do some stuff that wasn’t appropriate., and I was trying to figure out how to turn him in. And so, I asked a few people about him, and it got back to him that I was saying bad things. They happened to be true, but bad. And he called me into his office and he said, Iger you’re not promotable, and I am going to give you two weeks to find another job somewhere in this company, or I am going to fire you. And I got a job at ABC sports, and it actually helped launched my career.” – (Robert Iger – 2015)

    • Sarah Marchina

      But Bob Iger only just did what his boss told him to do. He was asked to find himself another job and he did. How is this Iger’s fault? Or are you questioning Iger’s integrity because he didn’t do anything about the corruption he observed? Or do you have a problem with him saying bad things about his boss? I don’t see where the blackmail is which you mention.
      If your boss told you to do things you are not comfortable with because they are inappropriate, what would you do?

  • Marti386

    “As we’ve made the point before,
    Iger misunderstands his role as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company; the
    CEO of Disney cannot just represent the business concerns of company,
    but must also represent the ethics and values that the Disney brand
    sells to families around the world.”

    This is something sadly missing more and more from large corporations.

    Companies have mission statements. And a mission statement is supposed to have (besides just intent to make a ton of money), the company’s “core values”. Things that are supposed to be part of that mission statement are things like how the company will serve customer needs, what makes your product special and unique from everyone else, treatment of employees, concern of public image, and things like citizenship, teamwork, excellence and integrity.

    Disney seems to be forgetting a lot of these.

    For example, FedEx’s mission statement is this:

    “FedEx Corporation will produce superior financial returns for its
    shareowners by providing high value-added logistics,
    transportation and related information services through focused
    operating companies. Customer requirements will be met in the highest
    quality manner appropriate to each market segment served. FedEx
    Corporation will strive to develop mutually rewarding relationships with
    its employees, partners and suppliers. Safety will be the first
    consideration in all operations. Corporate activities will be
    conducted to the highest ethical and professional standards.”

    Notice how it mentions high quality, developing rewarding relationships with employees, and concern with safety, ethics and professionalism.

    Now here is Disney’s statement:

    “The Walt Disney Company’s objective is to be one of the world’s
    leading producers and providers of entertainment and information, using
    its portfolio of brands to differentiate its content, services and
    consumer products. The company’s primary financial goals are to maximize
    earnings and cash flow, and to allocate capital toward growth
    initiatives that will drive long-term shareholder value.”

    All it really mentions is making money. In fact it only rated a lowly 1.2 score out of 4.5. A breakdown of it is here:

    https://www.strategicmanagementinsight.com/mission-statements/walt-disney-mission-statement.html

  • RCooke

    The U.S. does NOT have the “highest corporate tax rate in the world.” TThe UAI does. And this isn’t about fair taxes. This about AVOIDING taxes.

  • J

    Short term profit maximization over long term brand protection. You would think investors would be able to see past this and make their concerns known to Iger, but it seems many of them don’t care.

    • Marti386

      Exactly.

      Back in the day, a CEO’s responsibility was to protect the company image. You made the company strong, and that in turn meant profit for the stockholders.

      Now, CEO’s will sacrifice a company and it’s brand on the alter of stockholder profits. Which is a bass ackwards way of looking at it.

  • Slim Cognito

    It feels weird working in the industry and having somewhat right wing views. :V

    • Too Many Cooks

      Are you an animator? If so, I have.. a ton of questions. Like, does anyone know about your views? How hidden do you have to keep them? Is just keeping quiet enough, or do you have to pretend to support liberal causes? I’m very interested in Hollywood’s political climate.

      • Slim Cognito

        A ton of people in the industry hold centrist or somewhat right wing views. I know some people who are vocal about their political views, but they have to be careful about how they word things or who they associate with. Some people either keep quiet or pretend to support liberal causes.

        • Karl Hungus

          As a veteran of the industry for 20 years, I can attest that you WILL be punished if certain people find out you have deviated from the narrative. In any other part of the country I would be a pure centrist, but because I am in Hollywood, and I do not walk in lock step with the rest of the crowd politically, I have lost work on several occasions. It is demanded of you that you fall in line in this town and if you don’t, you should expect to be punished down the road. Liberals in Hollywood do not tolerate dissent, and its sad because I love so many of these fine people, and I love that they are liberal. It takes all kinds

          • Slim Cognito

            Yup. So many people in the industry love blackballing and it’s a shame.

  • Chicken McPhee

    Maybe Trump (or Putin) has incriminating evidence concerning hookers and bodily functions on Bob Iger?

    • Sarah Marchina

      Do you think Iger is one of those men? Do you think he secretly cheats on his wife? Is there any indication or evidence for that?

      • Chicken McPhee

        No, I was literally just being silly there.

  • Roca

    If consumers boycott and threaten every person who seeks to work with the President, you’ll eliminate the best and brightest and leave the chaff- isn’t it better to have a few “good guys” on the inside than not? (Not judging whether Iger is or isn’t a “good guy.”)

  • Anna Stasek

    I wonder if Trump’s policies will effect the outsourcing of animation work to be done in other countries?

  • Shuckleberry Hound

    “It’s better to work with him than ignore him.”

    No. It’s better to work against him.

    Don’t work with exploitative, anti-intellectual, lying, greedy, xenophobic fascists.

    • Too Many Cooks

      Those labels are not objective or scientific, which means that they can be used as grounds to refuse to work with any president. For example, Bob Iger could’ve refused to work with Obama on the grounds that he was an exploitative, anti-intellectual, lying, greedy, xenophobic fascist. In fact, in my personal opinion, “xenophobic” is the only one of those labels that could not be applied to Obama. These labels are completely subjective.

    • Troy

      You’re right and we can start by quitting jobs here in the U.S. or better yet straight up confronting our fine animation industry bosses.

  • Rayberay

    This doesn’t bug me at all, since I haven’t considered Disney to be any better morally than any other company for quite some time.

    If this gets off the ground, Disney might get some of the bad PR that’s long overdue.

  • This is a company that is involved in wage theft. What integrity are you talking about?

  • Karl Hungus

    The Disney Company had their employees TRAIN foreigners that they brought here on H1B visas and then had those foreign workers replace the workers that trained them Donald Trump stated that those practices would end under his presidency and he would reduce(or end) the number of H1B visas.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/mar/10/donald-trump-vows-to-end-h1-b-visa-program-in-wash/
    Hillary Clinton pledged to expand the amount of H1B visas.
    https://nexenta.com/company/media/videos/nexenta-opensdx-summit-keynote-speech-hillary-rodham-clinton
    Are you really defending labor practices that replace US citizens with cheaper work-visa foreign labor? As a union member, I fund that wholly offensive.

  • Karl Hungus

    Did you really cite teenVOGUE as a source? Are you serious?