After announcing a major extension of his contract as Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box early Thursday morning. While Disney fans were widely happy and excited for Iger’s time as CEO of the company to continue, many were taken aback by some seemingly out-of-touch statements he made on the show in reference to the ongoing Writers Guild strike. The writers strike has lasted longer than 70 days, starting in early May, with the Screen Actors Guild expected to announce their own strike in solidarity any minute now.
So what exactly does Bob Iger find “disturbing?”
Disney CEO Bob Iger‘s overall sentiment is that the striking writers and actors are behaving unrealistically in reference to Hollywood and business. He understands that unions will fight to get as much as they can for their members but that businesses can only do so much.
Here’s his statement emphasizing the importance of the industry and calling the protest efforts “disruptive.”
It’s very disturbing to me. We’ve talked about disruptive forces on this business and all the challenges we’re facing, the recovery from COVID, which is ongoing, it’s not completely back. This is the worst time in the world to add to that disruption. I understand any labor organization’s desire to work on behalf of its members to get the most compensation and be compensated fairly based on the value that they deliver.
We managed, as an industry, to negotiate a very good deal with the directors guild that reflects the value that the directors contribute to this great business. We wanted to do the same thing with the writers, and we’d like to do the same thing with the actors. There’s a level of expectation that they have that is just not realistic. And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.
Onlookers were a bit bewildered by his tone-deaf explanation, which pitied the struggling industry, but not the human struggle of the real people who make it possible. Critics were quick to cite his $27 million a year salary and nearly $700 million net worth as equally “disturbing” and “not realistic.”
The Disney CEO doubled down as he went on to say,
It will have a very, very damaging effect on the whole business, and unfortunately, there’s huge collateral damage in the industry to people who are supportive services, and I could go on and on. It will affect the economy of different regions, even because of the sheer size of the business. It’s a shame, it is really a shame.
Something is definitely a shame…
Check out some reaction tweets to Variety sharing the news on Twitter:
Yes, strikes are very disruptive. So is poverty.
— Joel Hatch (@cajoelme) July 13, 2023
It must be realistic for CEOs that actors and writers struggle to pay their bills while their companies afford their lavish lifestyle. Very inclusive of them.
— Don’t point down there (@Dontpointdownt) July 13, 2023
Damn Bob. Liked you more before that comment.
— Kerouac's Whiskey 🖖 🌊 🔮 (@oldstylevegas) July 13, 2023