×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

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.

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.

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.

More Biz

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale

    Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale Date

    UPDATED: The troubled Woodstock 50 festival has run into more difficulties, as multiple sources told Variety late Friday that the April 22 on-sale date for the event has been postponed. Agents for artists scheduled to perform at the festival — which include Jay-Z, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and Halsey [...]

  • National Enquirer - Jeff Bezos

    Hudson Media CEO James Cohen Purchases the National Enquirer

    Hudson Media’s CEO James Cohen announced Thursday that he will purchase the National Enquirer as well as American Media’s other tabloids, the Globe and the National Examiner. With the purchase of the National Enquirer, which Cohen reportedly bought for $100 million, he plans to strengthen their collaborative efforts, documentary shows, weekly podcasts, and theme parks. [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music’s Free Tier Is More Advertising Play Than Spotify Killer, Analysts Say

    When news began to spread last week that Amazon Music’s long-anticipated free streaming tier was imminent, headlines emerged about its threat to Spotify and Apple Music, with some stories saying that Spotify’s stock price dropped in response to the news. But not only was today’s launch of the free tier basically a soft one — [...]

  • Nicki MinajCFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Dinner,

    Nicki Minaj Parts Ways With Longtime Managers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Nicki Minaj has parted ways with Gee Roberson and Cortez Bryant and Blueprint/ Maverick Management, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. She had worked with the pair for the majority of her career. The source says the decision was mutual and amicable, and there was no specific reason for the split, adding [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music Launches Free Streaming Tier, Through Alexa Only (for Now)

    Amazon Music today basically soft-launched its free streaming tier, in which U.S. customers of its Alexa voice assistant will have access to top Amazon Music playlists and thousands of stations, at no cost. The limited access that the new free service provides — it’s only available through Alexa, and when the listener requests a song, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content