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Disney CEO Bob Iger Uses ‘Zootopia’ As Justification For Working With Donald Trump

Despite mounting criticism from his shareholders, Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger has doubled-down on his involvement with Donald Trump’s administration, making him the only major Hollywood CEO who is actively pursuing a relationship with Trump.

There was hope among Disney shareholders that Iger would step back Disney’s participation with Trump after Iger abruptly skipped out on a planned meeting with the president, but that appears to have merely been a maneuver to thwart criticism.

In recent weeks, Iger has started to use the studio’s Oscar-winning film Zootopia as justification for why it’s fine to participate on Trump’s economic advisory council. In response to critical shareholders at the the annual Disney shareholders meetings in Denver, Colorado, on March 8, Iger said, “You don’t make a movie [like] Zootopia, which is preaching tolerance…unless you believe fundamentally in that ideal and that value.”

Iger also cited the ABC sitcom Blackish and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as examples of how the company incorporates basic humanitarian values into its projects. “I can assure you the values I speak of are expressed whenever I get the chance,” Iger said.

Shareholders at the meeting presented Iger with over 500,000 signatures asking him to leave Trump’s advisory council, but Iger instead referenced a musical number from the Broadway play “Hamilton” entitled “The Room Where It Happens.” He compared himself to the musical number, telling shareholders, “There’s an opportunity to have a voice in the room where it happens to speak for our company and its investors.”

Even if Iger leaves the economic advisory council, however, the Disney Company will remain deeply embedded in the Trump administration. President Trump revealed just days ago that Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, CEO of Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment, was serving as his advisor on veteran affairs:

The meeting about veterans was abruptly cancelled after the Veterans Administration Secretary David Shulkin said he wasn’t attending the meeting (see video above), but Trump still followed through dinner with Perlmutter last Saturday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. In recent months, photos of Perlmutter (below, left) have emerged with Trump, a rare sight since Perlmutter hasn’t been publicly photographed since 1985:


According to the Palm Beach Post, “[T]he pair had dinner with first lady Melania Trump and Perlmutter’s wife, Laura. They also were joined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.” (Laura Perlmutter served on Trump’s inauguration committee.)

Perlmutter, who donated $5 million to various PACs supporting Trump’s election campaign, was the sixth biggest individual donor to Donald Trump during the 2016 election cycle. (Perlmutter received nearly $1.4 billion from Disney’s 2009 acquisition of the company.)

Perlmutter had largely been sidelined by Disney after their buyout of Marvel, however his deep relationship with Trump is now likely seen as a positive within the Walt Disney Company, especially by Iger. Even if Iger leaves Trump’s advisory council, he can rest assured knowing that another key Disney stakeholder has a direct line to Trump.

  • Tre

    To quote Hopps herself, “Oh, sweet cheese and crackers.”

  • Elsi Pote

    Using an animation feature to justify ones actions seriously discounts your intentions. Not because you are using the cartoon’s message, which might be positive or plain unrealistic , but because of the stigma around them.

    One thing is using analogies, and supporting a fact is another.

  • Rae

    tolerating intolerance is okay when no matter how much the “intolerated” suffer, you’ll still be well-off!
    talk is cheap when money speaks, bud

    • Too Many Cooks

      I agree. This is why I roll my eyes when rich people talk about mass immigration, of which they will never feel the economic impact.

  • God Monkey Abu

    Good for Iger.

    I don’t like Trump, but this childish attitude of shunning the leader of our country instead of trying to work with him and guide our nation as a whole is pretty damn stupid.

    • Chicken McPhee

      So yielding to authoritarian “leaders” in the name of the people is a good thing?
      Is it because you think you’re going to minimize the damage or because of some imagined sense of control?

      “Good for Himmler.
      I don’t like Hitler, but this childish attitude of shunning the leader of our country instead of trying to work with him and guide our nation as a whole is pretty damn stupid.”

      Honestly, just the fact that you recognize him as “the leader of our country” invalidates your “I don’t like Trump” comment that preceded it.

    • Several Cook

      People still seem to confuse “shun” with “resist”. Kowtowing to someone who doesn’t know what they are doing and tries to force what they want into action won’t guide the nation. Trump isn’t willing to work with people with opposing views. That much is obvious. It is stunning how much of a circus this whole thing has been. I guess it is easier for people to realize what is happening when they are on the outside of the country looking in.

      • AmidAmidi

        It’s also obvious to people inside of the country what is happening, and MANY people understand that this is a very dangerous time for the United States. Iger clearly knows what is happening, but is choosing to risk the Disney brand name with the belief that he can eke out some financial advantage from Trump before his administration implodes. It’s an unnecessary risk driven by corporate greed, and reveals much about Iger’s mindset.

  • Troy

    Opposing audience: “Disney represents family values from Zootopia, Finding Dory, etc. that Trump disregards”.
    Iger: “You don’t make a movie [like] Zootopia, which is preaching tolerance…unless you believe fundamentally in that ideal and that value.”

    Oh look one of the main points of steering Disney away from Trump is used right back at you. Next I suppose people will try to shoe in Frozen’s message, which at that point I am convinced that people are really clueless to the bigger picture. That would be a laughable irony.

    Here is a thought: Why don’t you get hired in Disney? You can’t? Obviously wait til someone quits/fired about supporting Trump. What? Still no opening? Then unlike you people, the employees don’t harp on every little issue that Trump does. Unless Trump erases Disney as an Animation business (which will be an impressive sight), you people seriously need to wake up from whatever fantasy and focus on issues, like getting more Animation job outputs.

  • Chicken McPhee

    This is just like in Captain America: Civil War. Disney and Marvel turn out to be infiltrated by real life Hydra after Iger and Ike pledge allegiance to Red Skull. The irony is lost on both of them, apparently.

    • Too Many Cooks

      “everyone I don’t like is Hydra”
      “also, everyone who associates with anyone I don’t like is Hydra”

      • Chicken McPhee

        Everyone who supports what’s going on in the White House is HYDRA.
        Cut off one head and two shall take its place. Begone, foul beast!

  • Several Cook

    I find it hilarious that there are still people who believe that Trump is someone who is willing to work with others and actually compromise and be reasonable. The guy is always trying to enforce his way or the highway.

    • Too Many Cooks

      The man literally extended an invitation to Iger. Should he just not even try?