Disney CEO Bob Iger Says His Role on Donald Trump’s Panel Is ‘Great Opportunity’

UPDATED: Disney CEO Bob Iger called his participation on a panel advising President Donald Trump on business issues “a great opportunity” that will allow him to influence the new administration on issues like lowering corporate tax rates.

While members of Trump’s strategic and policy advisory committee have come under fire for working with the new president (Uber founder Travis Kalanick even dropped out of the panel following a boycott of his ride-hailing service), Iger told CNBC that he thought there was much to gain for both sides.

The Disney boss also passed on an opportunity to directly criticize Trump’s policy temporarily banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations, though he did speak about the importance of allowing people from other countries into the U.S.

“This nation was founded by immigrants and I believe where we are as a nation is due to having an openness to the people of the world,” Iger told CNBC host Julia Boorstin. “It’s incredibly important. And I happen to firmly believe we cannot shut our borders to immigrants. And so I think a fair and just immigration policy is good for our country and good for society.”

Iger said he coveted the chance to speak for not only his company but the entertainment industry, since he is the only Hollywood representative on the panel.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the president to hear from the business community,” Iger said, “and as a member of the business community it’s a great opportunity for me to have a direct pipeline to the president and the senior members of his team.”

Asked about what he saw as his role on the economic advisory panel, Iger raised several issues he hoped to address.

“I have, I think, a real strong, good opportunity to be the sole representative of our industry on a number of very important issues: intellectual property protection, trade-related issues specifically for Disney and, obviously, any changes in the tax law could have a profound impact on our bottom line,” he said.

On the latter point, Iger added: “The [U.S.] corporate tax rate is the highest in the world and we [at Disney] pay a very high corporate tax rate. And I believe it is time for that to be reexamined and that potentially could be a real boon to the Walt Disney Company.”

Iger gave the interview just after reporting Disney’s first quarter earnings for 2017. The report showed booming results for Disney’s theme parks, including the Shanghai resort that opened last June. Iger said the park had at times reached its 65,000-person daily capacity and, during those periods, sold five tons of rice daily at the park’s restaurants.

Iger was asked if Trump’s confrontational approach with the Chinese threatens Disney’s success in the Middle Kingdom.

“I don’t know that we know for sure what President Trump’s approach is,” Iger responded. He added that America’s business leaders know that “trading with China is really important,” adding: “The relationship this company has with China is really important both from a movie perspective, from a parks perspective, from a consumer products perspective. An all-out trade war with China would be damaging, I think … to Disney’s business and to business in general. I think it’s something we are going to have to be really careful about.”

More Film

  • dolittle-DRD_Tsr1Sht_1011_RGB_4_rgb-1

    Robert Downey Jr. Embarks on Perilous Journey in First 'Dolittle' Trailer (Watch)

    Robert Downey Jr. is setting sail with some furry friends in the first trailer for “Dolittle,” Universal Pictures’ reimagining of the classic story about a man who could speak to animals. “We have no choice but to embark on this perilous journey,” he says. Set to a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” [...]

  • Parasite

    Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite' Posts Powerful Opening in North America

    Bong Joon-Ho’s dark comedy “Parasite,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, has launched with a spectacular $376,264 at three U.S. theaters.  Neon opened “Parasite” at the The Landmark and Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles and at the IFC Center in New York, where it broke the opening record set by 2014’s “Boyhood.” Its per-screen average [...]

  • Joker Movie

    'Joker' Dominates International Box Office With $124 Million

    “Joker” is showing impressive traction internationally with a second weekend of $123.7 million on 24,149 screens in 79 markets — a holdover decline of just 29%. Joaquin Phoenix’s psychological thriller has totaled $351.2 million outside North America after only 12 days in release. And with $192 million in domestic grosses, “Joker” has now topped $543 [...]

  • Joker

    'Joker' Remains Box Office Ruler With $55 Million

    Joaquin Phoenix is king of the North American box office once again as “Joker” scores an easy victory in its second weekend with $55 million at 4,374 sites. “Joker” dominated a trio of new entries with animated comedy “The Addams Family” leading the rest of pack with $30.3 million at 4,007 venues, topping forecasts. Will [...]

  • French director Bertrand Tavernier attends the

    Bertrand Tavernier on Coppola, Scorsese, Cayatte, Cinema’s Bright Future

    Veteran French director Bertrand Tavernier (“Round Midnight”) – president and director of the Institut Lumière and Lumière Festival, which he co-manages with Cannes’ Thierry Frémaux – has played a pivotal role in restoring classic French films and defending the importance of French directors, such as Claude Autant Lara, Henri Decoin and André Cayatte, who were [...]

  • 'Philharmonia'

    French Series 'Philharmonia' Sells to the U.K., the U.S. and Australia (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Philharmonia,” a French thriller series set in the world of a national orchestra, has been acquired in English-speaking territories from Lagardere Studios Distribution. “Philharmonia,” which was created and co-written by Marine Gacem, has been acquired by First Look Media’s Topic for SVOD rights in the U.S., and Walter Presents for the U.K. and Australia. “Philharmonia” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content