Disney CEO Bob Iger rejected claims by activists speaking on behalf of some shareholders today that his membership on President Trump’s Business Advisory Council provides tacit endorsement of the administration’s policies.
Being on the council offers a “privileged opportunity to have a voice in the room” to express views that are “in the best interest of the company and its values,” he said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, being held in Denver.
His comments came just before investors overwhelmingly reelected the board and rejected two shareholder proposals according to the preliminary tally of votes. During the meeting Disney showed attendees clips from the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
At least a few shareholders said that they were unpersuaded by his position about the administration’s Advisory Council.
“The question is less about access than about endorsement,” one said citing the administration’s immigration restrictions. “It looks as if you are tacitly endorsing all of Trump’s policies, anti immigrant, anti LGBT, anti woman agenda.”
Iger says his views are “likely to be adversarial” to the administration “and not an endorsement.”
For example, he says that the company, and country, have benefited from an “open and a fair and a just immigration policy….That’s my position, and a position I take on behalf of this company.”
Another shareholder challenged Disney generally, and ABC News specifically, for favoring views of “liberal coastal elites.”
Iger vigorously rejected the view. “I’m an expert on ABC News and I can stand here today, look you in he face and say…they present the news in a very fair way.” He decried a general “indictment made about the press because they do not necessarily toe the line.”
Iger disclosed that the chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers — Disney’s accounting firm — called him to “explain and apologize for” the snafu at the Academy Awards that led to a mistaken announcement that La La Land had won the Best Picture Award. Moments later it was disclosed that Moonlight had won.
It was an “embarrassing human error” that “should not affect our relationship with [PwC] in a negative way,” Iger says. “It was an honest human mistake.”
Asked by a girl attending the meeting to name his favorite Disney princess, Iger said that he doesn’t have one.
Another girl asked whether Disney had ever considered adding a child to the board. He said it hadn’t, “but it’s a good question.”
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