Robert Iger, the Chief Executive Officer of Walt Disney Co. was asked to step down from President Donald Trump’s forum for business policy in the company’s annual meeting.
Generally, the annual shareholder meetings of Disney are low key and scripted affairs that avoid controversy and just reflect America’s cherished Entertainment Company’s broad-based appeal.
However, this time around on Wednesday, Iger was unusually pointed with questions on his decision of participating in Trump’s council. He still defended his position there and called his participation an opportunity. Shareholders still urged him to leave the forum.
The meeting took place at Denver’s convention center at Bellco Theatre on Wednesday morning and Iger explained his decision by invoking Hamilton’s lyrics emphasizing the importance of having a saw when important calls are taken.
His role in this panel where he is the only executive from the entertainment industry among CEOs from other niches like IBM and General Motors was not to endorse Trump administration’s policies like immigration orders, which have drawn a lot of criticism.
His goal is to directly bring issues in the entertainment industry in the eyes of the President of United States. Iger showed footage from the company’s upcoming movie “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and also boasted of the attendance figures of their new Disneyland in Shanghai, which has now welcomed above 8 million visitors since its opening in 2016 June.
But politics was the highlight of this two hour meeting.
The representatives of the shareholders who spoke at this tense meeting labeled the Trump administration as xenophobic, bigoted, and racist and asked Igor to step down from the council. Iger didn’t attend the first meeting that was held in February due to prior commitments. The second meeting’s dates are yet to be announced.
Iger supported Hillary in their presidential election that faced a lot of social media criticism for not quitting the panel. Even the CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick left the group under intense public pressure.
But Iger stood his ground and offered a lot of valid arguments for the business benefits that allowed people in the US for working. He added that he is also against the policies singling out some religious group, a reference to the discriminatory move against Muslims by the Trump administration.
Still the Q&A in the event managed to produce lighter moments as well like most of the shareholder meetings of Walt Disney Co. A child named Riley asked Iger to name the Disney princess he liked the most. He said he couldn’t choose. Aspen, another youngster asked Iger if he ever thought of adding a child to the board of the company. Iger answered that he never considered this.