Disney CEO Bob Iger has reportedly made yet another blunder, this time evoking anger in Disney fans across the aisles after comments he made in commemoration of The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary on Monday.
Bob Iger, Disney’s notorious boomerang CEO, simply isn’t having a great go at it in his second term as CEO of one of the most expansive and powerful business enterprises in the world–and it isn’t because he lacks the talents, the abilities, the know-how, or the wherewithal to successfully execute his role.
Iger’s Return in 2022
Iger was reinstalled as Disney’s CEO following the dismissal by Disney’s board of the previous chief at Disney, Bob Chapek, who began his role at the top in February 2020.
While not everything could be truthfully laid at Chapek’s feet or hoisted upon his shoulders, a long succession of less-than-favorable earnings reports, exchanges with celebrities, outcomes from statements made on behalf of the Disney Company, and box office reviews–in addition to others–ultimately convinced Disney’s board to excuse Chapek from his role and simultaneously reinstate Iger to the post.
Iger’s first run as CEO of Walt’s beloved enterprise–from 2005 to 2020–was steeped in success: success that included a myriad of acquisitions and mergers that not only increased the value of The Walt Disney Company but also served to broaden the scope of entertainment offerings made by the company. Among the largest of the acquisitions overseen by Bob Iger were PIXAR (2006), Marvel (2009), Lucasfilm (2012), and 2oth Century FOX (2019).
But Iger’s second run as CEO hasn’t gone so smoothly.
Iger Scrambles to Regain Success as CEO
In mid-July, during an interview for CNBC’s SquawkBox, Iger made comments related to the ongoing actor’s strike, enraging many in the picket lines and across the country.
“There’s a level of expectation that [the striking actors] have that is just not realistic,” Iger said. “And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”
In response, actress Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA, described Iger as “sitting in his designer clothes and on his private jet at the billionaire’s camp, telling us we’re unrealistic when he’s making $78,000 a day.” Drescher went on to ask rhetorically, “How do you deal with someone like that who’s so tone-deaf?”
More than four months later, Iger’s comments have been brought back into the spotlight on social media, following sentiments he shared on Monday in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company.
Iger’s Sentiments Garner Anger
On Monday, in celebration of Disney’s 100th anniversary, Iger made a post to his account on X, formerly Twitter, saying:
A century ago today, Walt Disney and his brother Roy officially founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, changing entertainment forever. To all who have imagined with us, laughed with us, and dreamed with us throughout the generations since, thank you.
A century ago today, Walt Disney and his brother Roy officially founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, changing entertainment forever. To all who have imagined with us, laughed with us, and dreamed with us throughout the generations since… Thank you. #Disney100 pic.twitter.com/aUJ8vkTNYu
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) October 16, 2023
But the post didn’t drum up the positive responses that Iger likely looked for, as many of the comments in response to Iger’s post were derogatory in nature and pointed back to Iger’s comments about the SAG-AFTRA strike.
“The best way to celebrate that legacy is by making a fair deal with SAG and putting the industry back to work,” reads a response from Joshua Nathan Strong on X. Another user, James Cartmell, agreed, saying, “Great story. Now make a deal with@sagaftra.”
“How bout you go back to the negotiating table and give SAG actors fair pay and compensation,” posted another user, @syriangeekvibes.
Others took the opportunity to slam what they see as a deviation from the direction Walt Disney would have wanted the company to take.
“Walt would be turning over in his grave when he saw what his company was turned into,” posted user Dylan Hunt. Another user, @vadascreams, commented: “This greed of yours is just nasty.”
While not every response was a display of disagreement and disgust with the veteran CEO and his recent stances, it is clear from many of the comments that Iger’s former sentiments about actors participating in the SAG-AFTRA strikes are still drawing ire from many.