Bob Iger has gotten a lot of flack for his stance on the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strikes. He called them “disturbing” and said that the union demands were “unreasonable.” Fran Drescher, president of the SAG, compared him to a medieval land baron. Memes and statements denouncing Iger took over social media. People felt he was out of touch. It wasn’t a good look for him.
At today’s Earnings Call, he backtracked on those statements. He said the studio’s relationship with the writers and actors is vital. Nothing is more important to the company than its relationship with the talented writers and actors in the industry.” He also vowed that he was “personally committed to doing whatever he can” to aid in coming to a resolution with both the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America.
This attempt to smooth ruffled feathers comes on the heels of an earnings statement that is lackluster at best. Never before has there been such a loss in so many sectors of the company. It’s a dark time for the Walt Disney Company, but Iger remains confident that it will turn around.
One wonders about whether the comments from Iger are genuine, considering Disney is actively seeking to employ the very technology the strikes are fighting against. The WGA and SAG are currently striking, in part, to protect themselves and their jobs from Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacement. News broke recently that Disney is actively hiring AI programmers and platforms to perform writing and acting work. Is this just another empty out-of-touch statement from a wealthy executive, or does Iger think he can maintain a relationship with on-screen talent and writers while also employing the very thing they fear is going to replace them?