Now that Disney CEO Bob Iger has finally committed to a timetable for retiring from his perch atop the world’s largest entertainment company (or at least the world’s argest media firm that doesn’t also dabble in telecommunications), he can start to loosen up a bit, and not be so reserved during interviews or when accepting a humanitarian award in front of a ballroom of Hollywood power players.
During a speech at the 2019 Humanitarian Award at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s annual National Tribute Dinner, an event ostensibly organized to celebrate charitable giving, Iger launched into a diatribe about the corrosive influence of social media, as the Hollywood Reporter reports.
While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest of their cohort has transformed the way people relate to one another and challenged the dominance of the “traditional media” (like the company Iger leads), it has also created a platform that helps reinforce groupthink and foster hatred and malice.
Iger lamented that “hate and anger are dragging us toward the abyss once again, and apathy is growing…consuming our public discourse and shaping our country into something that is wholly unrecognizable.”
“Our politics, in particular, are now dominated by contempt,” he said.
Then he went a step further, violating the cardinal rule of public speaking in the process: “Never say ‘Hitler'”.
Per the Reporter:
“Hitler would have loved social media,” suggesting that it is “constantly validating our convictions and amplifying our deepest fears” and “makes it far too easy to deny our shared humanity.” He emphasized that “it is possible to argue policy without attacking people” and that “we have to change how we talk to each other” before suggesting, “Maybe we should just start by reconnecting with those friends and family members that we haven’t spoken to since the 2016 election.”
Amid the flurry of Disney related news this week, the comment barely registered in the headlines. Yesterday, Disney unveiled its direct-to-consumer ‘Netflix killer’ (which is expected to lose money for at least five years). And investors were apparently so impressed that they have sent Disney shares on a double-digit tear. The stock was up more than 11% Friday morning, helping the Dow nearly erase its losses for the week.