Uber CEO Drops Out of Trump’s Economic Panel, Disney’s Bob Iger to Miss Meeting

Travis Kalanick Bob Iger
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Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger reportedly won’t attend a planned meeting on Friday of President Donald Trump’s strategic and policy forum, while one of its other members, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, has left the advisory group in the wake of protests over the administration’s travel ban. A source familiar with Kalanick’s plans confirmed to Variety that he would be exiting the council and not attending the meeting.

Iger had a previously scheduled board meeting that conflicted with the White House event, according to Bloomberg News. It was confirmed by several other outlets.

The corporate watchdog group SumOfUs had called for Iger to step down from the panel, which was announced in December and is being led by Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chairman and CEO of The Blackstone Group. It also includes a number of other corporate leaders.

SumOfUs also launched a petition drive, citing Trump’s issuance of an executive order last week restricting travel from seven Muslim majority countries as well as temporarily curbing the entry of refugees into the United States.

Iger is the only entertainment industry figure on the panel. A White House spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment, and Disney officials did not return calls. The Trump administration has yet to confirm when the meeting was taking place, but participants such as Kalanick have said that it was scheduled for Friday.

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Kalanick, in a letter to employees obtainment by Variety, wrote that even though his participation was not meant to convey an endorsement of Trump’s policies, “unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.”

He wrote that he spoke to Trump on Thursday informing him that he would not participate on the council.

“We must believe that the actions we take ultimately move the ball forward,” Kalanick wrote. “There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration, but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America. Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas, and there’s a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.”

Kalanick faced even more pressure to step down from the Trump panel, as protesters mounted a #DeleteUber online campaign in part because of his participation. There was also anger directed at the company for turning off surge pricing to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday evening, a move that some protesters took as trying to undercut the cab drivers union. The cab drivers had been part of the JFK protests of Trump’s policies.

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Kalanick’s decision is a reversal of his previous defense of remaining on the panel. On Saturday, he wrote in a Facebook post that “while every government has their own immigration controls, allowing people from all around the world to come here and make America their home has largely been the U.S.’s policy since its founding. That means this ban will impact many innocent people — an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting.”

He also wrote that when it came to his participation, “I understand that many people internally and externally may not agree with that decision, and that’s OK. It’s the magic of living in America that people are free to disagree. But whatever your view, please know that I’ve always believed in principled confrontation and just change; and have never shied away (maybe to my detriment) from fighting for what’s right.”

A number of corporate leaders have spoken out about Trump’s travel ban, including those from Nike, Apple, and Google, while the MPAA issued a statement earlier this week saying that they were concerned about the impact it could have on the creative community. Also weighing in were James and Lachlan Murdoch at 21st Century Fox, who wrote a letter to employees in which they talked of the value of immigration and said that they were going to provide assistance to affected employees.

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  1. Rabii says:

    As an immigrant myself I think we all need to speak out for the rights of all people. It is wrong to blame people for acts the did not do. None of the people are banned because of anything they did. It is simply based on national origin. That goes against all rules of decency. If someone did something then bring evidence. No evidence means no guilt and hence no punishment. Yet this ban punishes people with no evidence and hence no guilt.

    The other arguments against the ban are fine but the strongest is the fact that there is no evidence. If we go around picking on people with no proof then rule of law goes out the door. No law means no order and the resulting chaos will harm all people.

  2. Nino Brunori says:

    Ifosys Limited is just one of those India based companies that is now cutting back on using Indians for their huge outsourcing company. Look this up.

    H-1B was never meant to fire Americans in favor of lower wage Indian’s yet ask Bob Iger about this and see what he has to say about it.

    Disney is supposed to be about family and Bob doesn’t look like he starving or having a hard time paying bills unlike the loyal American workers that were fired from the Disney IT department.

    According to WIKI the last time I read it states he makes over 46 Million a year in compensation for being the Disney CEO.

    Needless to say, the last Disney cartoon I watched the abundance of Managers and Animators were Indian names.

    Our Government allowed this even if it were done with the best intentions and before Trump was elected I read that our wonderful speaker Paul Ryan wanted to expand the H-1B program.

    In closing, it is my hunch that someone like Bob Iger didn’t want to get an a#s chewing by the likes of Trump. Who is he other than the President of the United States telling someone like Bob Iger what’s what.

    After all, according to these overly wealthy, a partial quote of the late Leona Helmsley we are “The Little People” Full quote “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes”

  3. Quaker says:

    Uber CEO = cowardly punk be-ach.

  4. lulu says:

    These CEOs are total cowards. It is fine though since Trump is a winner, and they will not have been a part of it. MAGA

  5. See Me - Feel Me says:

    Great news and the right decision. Trump is a fear mongering fraud who has done nothing more, with his paranoid world view and his racist cabinet, than to suggest that America is a nation of cowards, which we are not. He hasn’t made us stronger, he’s made us weaker.

    • Greggreen29 says:

      WBush gave Obama two wars we were winning. Obama gave Trump six wars we are losing, seven if you count Yemen.

      Obama has the 4th worst Pres economy in US history behind Herbert Hoover (-5.65%), Andrew Johnson (-0.70%) and Theodore Roosevelt (1.41%). He’s the first US Pres to never have a year of 3% GDP growth. Truly a deplorable Pres.

      Notice how you called names and I provided evidence?

      • Les917 says:

        That isn’t supplying evidence unless you name the sources of your statements. Those are just statements, and in the case of the GDP growth, misleading if you understand GDP. But the Idiot-in- Chief and his lemmings care not about truth or accuracy.

      • Quaker says:

        Nice beatdown, Greggreen29

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