During the Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference on Tuesday, Iger addressed the recent criticisms of superhero films — specifically Marvel pics — from filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. The Irishman director has compared them to theme park rides while The Godfather filmmaker flat out called them despicable. Iger was fairly blunt with his response.
“I reserve the word ‘despicable’ for someone who committed mass murder,” Iger said at the conference. “These are movies.”
He continued, “They want to bitch about movies, it’s certainly their right” before saying he would be happy to put Scorsese and Coppola’s films against MCU movies helmed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok)and Ryan Coogler (Black Panther).
This comes mere weeks before the November 12 launch of the highly anticipated streaming service Disney+. During the panel he talked about how he has been hands-on with the service, exploring the app and offering notes to the engineers developing the product. He said that the feedback he gave was that he wanted to make the product less about algorithms to predict what consumers want.
Iger was busy hopping from conference to conference on Tuesday as he spoke at the Vanity Fair Summit earlier in the day with The Mandalorian creator and showrunner Jon Favreau. They were interviewed by Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones, who grilled the Disney CEO over his $66 million compensation last year, as well as his thoughts on a wealth tax that’s being pitched by Democratic presidential candidates.
“We’re in the middle of a really robust political conversation about excessive wealth, and the idea it’s corrosive to democracy, and wondered what you thought about that and if specifically if either of you would support a wealth tax, of the kind that is being proposed by some of the Democratic candidates,” Jones asked.
Iger explained that the stock award “was a one-time grant, it’s not something that repeats itself year after year.” He said the payout was on account of the Disney-Fox merger going through, his “involvement in the dealmaking” and “responsibilities” he was taking on in increasing the size of the company.
“I was given that because I was leaving Disney this year, and I was given that as part of an agreement for me to stay three years,” defended Iger.
In regards to the wealth tax, Iger said: “I happen to believe that the whole subject of income inequality is very, very real. That companies like the Walt Disney Company and other large companies have a responsibility to look for solutions to improve the lives of the people who work for us. And we’re doing just that including things for the roughly 90,000 employees in the United States, paying free education for them, whether its high school equivalency, college, graduate degree, vocational, and we’re looking for more opportunities there. So, I happen to believe given where we are, societally today with a fair amount of challenge both political, social and economic, companies like Disney have a responsibility to step up and do their part.”
Iger’s comments come in the wake of 10 Disney female employees filing a class action lawsuit for being unfairly compensated compared with their male counterparts.