×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney’s Bob Iger Blasts Hateful Political Discourse and Social Media: ‘We Can Do Better’

Bob Iger didn’t mince words while being honored Thursday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Upon receiving the Humanitarian Award at the organization’s National Tribute Dinner from Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO delivered a scathing critique of social media and the current state of political discourse.

“Hate and anger are dragging us toward the abyss once again,” Iger said. “Apathy is actually growing. In the last few years, we have been harshly reminded that hate takes many forms, sometimes disguising itself as more socially acceptable expression like fear or resentment or contempt. It is consuming our public discourse and shaping our country and culture into something that is wholly unrecognizable to those of us who still believe in civility, human rights and basic decency.”

He decried social media for users’ abilities to spread hate.

“Hitler would have loved social media,” Iger said. “It’s the most powerful marketing tool an extremist could ever hope for because by design social media reflects a narrow world view filtering out anything that challenges our beliefs while constantly validating our convictions and amplifying our deepest fears.

He continued, “It creates a false sense that everyone shares the same opinion. Social media allows evil to prey on troubled minds and lost souls and we all know that social news feeds can contain more fiction than fact, propagating vile ideology that has no place in a civil society that values human life.”

He implored the audience to “once again renounce and reject hate in all forms.”

Iger also called on voters to “demand more” from elected officials. “We have the responsibility to fix what is broken,” he said. “We also have the power to do it now. We can do better. The world needs us to be better.”

While acknowledging that many people in the ballroom have probably been approached by 2020 presidential candidates asking for support and financial donations, Iger also warned, “I want to hear a pitch that isn’t grounded in the contempt of others.”

As Variety reported earlier today, Iger and Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn are set to host a fundraiser for 2020 senate candidates.

“Leaders must offer a plan for progress that works for all of us and does not include leaving millions behind,” Iger said. “And leaders also have to be committed to a society and government that respects the rights and the human dignity of everyone within is.”

While much of Iger’s remarks could have been mistaken as his own political stump speech, Katzenberg said in his introduction, “No matter how much I begged Bob, he wasn’t willing to run for president.”

Iger responded by saying, “As for the presidency, he promised me that he would never bring that up again, particularly with my wife [Willow Bay] present.”

Also honored during the evening were Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, Holocaust resistance hero Kurt Kleinman and immigrant rights activist Florence Phillips. Jimmy Kimmel hosted the program.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Marilyn Katzenberg, Bob Iger, Rabbi Marvin Hier and Brian GrazerSimon Wiesenthal Gala honoring Bob Iger, Arrivals, The Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles, USA - 10 Apr 2019
CREDIT: Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

More Politics

  • tammy brook

    FYI Brand Group Launches Social Impact Division

    FYI Brand Group, the music and fashion brand marketing and public relations firm founded by Tammy Brook, is launching a social impact division dedicated to campaigns centered around creating a call to action for social good. Organizations that have signed on to work with FYI include the American Cancer Society and Black Lives Matter; the [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Jeff Daniels MSNBC

    Jeff Daniels Says 'It's the End of Democracy' if Trump Gets Re-Elected

    Jeff Daniels took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the GOP during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. Daniels spoke with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC about his role as Atticus Finch in the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story about racial politics and discrimination in 1930s Alabama, and spent the segment [...]

  • James Marsden attends the 2019 MOCA

    New Abortion Ban Laws Take Center Stage at MOCA Gala

    Forty years ago in Los Angeles, the decision to invest millions in a museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art — not to mention its formerly desolate downtown location, where the vibe was more apocalyptic than artsy — was a risky proposition. But now that the city’s cultural heart has shifted south of Hollywood, it seems [...]

  • Spectators watch the 2019 Eurovision Song

    U.S. Music Industry Delegation Convenes in Tel Aviv for Eurovision

    This past weekend, squeezed between a string of Eurovision Song Contest parties, Tel Aviv’s posh Norman hotel played host to an intimate, invite-only dinner of music industry delegates from the United States. The rooftop-set event was designed as a highlight on the itinerary of the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) weeklong trip to Israel. CCFP, [...]

  • Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment,

    Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment, Imprisonment for Trump, Says Maybe Al Pacino Should Lead Instead

    Robert De Niro honored Al Pacino, his longtime friend and four-time collaborator (with Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Irishman” marking their latest pairing), at the American Icon Awards, and then called for a different type of tribute for President Donald Trump — “impeachment and imprisonment.” “You didn’t think you were going to completely get away without [...]

  • CEO of T-Mobile John Legere (L)

    FCC Chairman Backs T-Mobile, Sprint Merger With New Conditions

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave a thumbs-up to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed $26 billion merger, after the companies committed to enhanced 5G buildout commitments and agreed to spin off Sprint’s Boost Mobile. T-Mobile and Sprint first announced their plans to merge in April 2018, looking to combine forces to take on industry leaders AT&T and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content