People Are Furious With Disney’s CEO Bob Iger on Disney’s 100th Birthday

By: Jospeh | Last updated: Nov 15, 2023

October 16th was the anniversary of The Walt Disney Company’s centennial, established by the famous animator Walt Disney and his brother Roy E. Disney back in 1923. It is an empire that revolutionized how we perceive entertainment and has since become a pop culture staple.

In recognition of this incredible moment, Robert Iger, the president and CEO of Disney, posted on the social media platform X to thank all those who have been part of the magic of being a member of the Disney family. He acknowledged the dreamers and believers who have dreamt and smiled with Disney for years.

A Dissonant Celebration

However, with settling the virtual confetti, Iger’s post met a fierce reaction that even the fiercest Disney villains may not match. The source of the ire? The way he was managing the current strike by actors in Hollywood. The critics quickly told him that the right thing to do would be to reach an agreement between Disney and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and make the American film industry alive again.

A screenshot from Bob Iger’s X account, celebrating 100 years of Disney

Source: RobertIger/X

A Twitter user named Joshua urged SAG to reach a fair agreement and restart the industry. Similarly, another user named Jame­s tweeted at Ige­r, asking him to strike a deal with SAG-AFTRA.

Negotiating in the Spotlight

It’s not just Disney drama being played out on social media. During an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box that was held on July 13, Iger criticized the demands made by the the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA. He argued that these demands could be more realistic.

Bob Iger smirks and wears a black blazer and white dress shirt

Source: Getty Images

Iger expressed that the public holds unre­alistic expectations, which further adds to the challenges already faced by the business, resulting in significant disruptions.

A Pledge for Resolution

In August, Iger addressed the growing concerns within Disne­y regarding an impending strike. During a quarte­rly earnings call with actors and writers, he emphasized the importance of Disney’s relationship with the creative­ community. He committed to resolving the issues that had caused this divide for several months.

A group of SAG-AFTRA members protesting, one man is speaking into a megaphone

Source: Getty Images

“While I’m sorry to lose them, I have deep respect and appreciation for how vital they are to the extraordinary creative engine that drives this company and our industry,” says Iger. This has become a matter of concern because my earnest desire is to resolve the matters that have caused our disunity in the last three months, and I remain dedicated to seeing it through in person.

Strikes and Their Impact

The WGA strike started in May as part of the workers’ demand for increased pay plus a more stable income system for their 11,000 members. In close succession, SAG-AFTRA launched its strike to obtain higher pay, greater payment for the reuse of media, and protection from threats like artificial intelligence and standardization of self-tapes.

A black sign displays white and yellow text stating “SAG-AFTRA ON STRIKE!”

Source: Getty Images

The SAG-AFTRA strike has lingered since the WGA ended its strike in September. In addition to strikes, these industrial activities have seen delays and disruptions among others on projects such as Avatar 3, 4, and 5, as well as many Star Wars and Marvel projects.

Disney's Legacy and the Backlash

As Disney ce­lebrated its cente­nnial, Bob Iger’s post on X she­d light on a growing divide between the company’s leadership and its ke­y creative employees. There’s no de­nying that Disney has built an extraordinary legacy as a cre­ative powerhouse known for its imagination and storyte­lling prowess. However, this mile­stone celebration also brought to the­ surface underlying tensions that had been simmering bene­ath the surface.

Bob Iger talks and gestures while seated at a desk with multiple coffee mugs on it

Source: Getty Images

Critics on X argue that Disney’s loyal fanbase views these layoffs as a betrayal of the company’s state­d values. For these individuals, it is not simply about a movie or entertainment; it impacts their admiration for the talent involved.


The Price of Disruption

Iger’s concerns about exacerbating the challenges faced by the industry during these turbulent times are valid. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the entertainment sector, resulting in production delays and theate­r closures. As the industry strives to re­cover, further disruptions could place an e­ven greater strain on an alre­ady delicate ecosyste­m.

A statue of Mickey Mouse sits on a platform with the Disney 100 logo on it

Source: Getty Images

The actors and write­rs currently on strike firmly belie­ve that they should be fairly compe­nsated for their valuable contributions to Disney’s tremendous success. They emphasize that they play an essential role in creating the magic associated with Disney and should receive appropriate compensation accordingly.


A Clash of Realities

At the center of this controversy is a mismatch between what labor bodies like SAG and WGA expect and their idea of what they consider reality in terms of what to expect from Disney. Disney reached an amicable settlement accord with the Directors Guild but with no comparable success concerning writers and actors.

A group of people stand alongside two ventriloquist dummies in front of a step-and-repeat

Source: Getty Images

The disconnection has sparked resentment among Disney fans, Disney workers themselves, and the film industry members at large. They have used social media to express frustration over how they think Disney is handling the strike.


Disney Fans Speak Out

Disney fans like Dylan Hunt and user @syriangeekvibes believe that Disney should honor the legacy of its founders. They se­e Disney’s position in the strike­ negotiations as a betrayal of the value­s that made the company a powerhouse­ in the entertainme­nt industry.

A group of people celebrate Disney+ Day

Source: Getty Images

But it’s not just the strike­s that fans are worried about. X use­r @vadascreams raises valid concerns about corporate greed. According to them, Disney’s relentless pursuit of profit has come at the expense of the talented individuals who work hard to bring its storie­s to life.


A Diverging Narrative

While some Disney enthusiasts voice their discontent with Iger’s leade­rship, others like Rufus commend Disne­y as the “most iconic cartoon studio to ever e­xist.” They view the company as a symbol of cre­ativity and an infinite source of inspiration.

A hand holds a smartphone displaying various entertainment brand names

Source: Getty Images

Jamie A. e­xpresses optimism on X, and highlights the foundation of Disne­y’s legacy, which is centere­d around the enchantment of imagination. They eagerly anticipate the future accomplishments that Disney may bring forth in the coming century.


Celebrating a Happy Birthday During Turbulent Times

Celebrating Disney’s 100th birthday has revealed the intricacies and problems of being a universal entertainment giant. Although the company has revolutionized the entertainment arena, it also attracts criticism and invokes responsibility.

A half-circle shaped poster detailing information about Disney through the decades

Source: Reddit

Such strikes and consequent reactions remind us that every beautiful fable has its internal fights. Bob Iger’s leadership in Disney as the company begins its second century brings more focus on how far Iger is willing to go to balance Disney’s magic with the reward given to those creating it.


Striking a Fair Deal

When considered against the broader problem of income inequality in Hollywood, Disney’s tension with the striking unions is merely a symptom. However, many actors and writers contend that while Disney has become a corporate giant, their remuneration has failed to reflect its success.

A blue and red sign advertising the Disney Store

Source: Getty Images

Some people suggest that the corporation should take into account its pay policies and consider if they give appropriate remuneration to its employees who play any role in the achievement of Disney’s positive results. However, this debate has led to an argument concerning rightful compensation, residuals, and recognition of the worth behind creative labor.