11 Mar 2009 Disney Censors Webcast of Shareholder Meeting; Report of “F-Bomb” from CEO Iger to Conservative Activist Edited Out
Washington, DC – The Walt Disney Company has edited out of the webcast version of its March 10 annual shareholder meeting an incident in which Disney CEO Robert Iger dropped the “f-bomb” on conservative activist and Disney investor Tom Borelli.
Iger scowled at and said “f— you” to Tom Borelli, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project, at Tuesday’s annual Disney shareholder meeting after Borelli told shareholders about Iger’s refusal to sell the DVD or the distribution rights of the miniseries “The Path to 9/11.”
Borelli, who was attending the meeting on behalf of the Free Enterprise Action Fund, a mutual fund with which he is affiliated, had just ended his presentation and was attempting to shake Iger’s hand when Iger used the phrase. Iger also refused to uncross his arms and shake Borelli’s hand. Borelli, who had received applause from fellow shareholders after his presentation, went back to the podium and precisely reported to his fellow shareholders what Iger had just said, to gasps from the assembled crowd. Borelli then sat back down.
On March 11, Disney released on its website what it calls “a re-play of The Walt Disney Company’s annual meeting of shareholders on March 10, 2009” at http://corporate.disney.go.com/investors/presentations.html. A review of the webcast reveals that Borelli’s report about Iger’s remark to his fellow shareholders has been replaced by white noise.
Borelli’s report of Iger’s remark was audible, however, during the live webcast of the shareholder meeting, making it apparent that Disney personnel purposefully censored the material before posting the archived version on its website’s information page for investors.
Iger’s remark to Borelli appears to violate Disney’s own “Standards of Business Conduct,” which, as described by Iger in an open letter on the Disney website, includes, in Iger’s words, “acting responsibly in all our professional relationships, in a manner consistent with the high standards we set for our business conduct.” The standards also, Iger’s letter says, “govern how we treat everyone with whom we have contact. These are standards of integrity… honesty… trust… respect… fair play… and teamwork.” (Original at http://corporate.disney.go.com/corporate/conduct_standards.html.)
For more information on Tom Borelli’s presentation at the March 10, 009 Disney shareholder meeting and Iger’s remark to Borelli, please see the press release “Disney CEO Drops F-Bomb at Shareholder Meeting; Iger’s Nasty Comment to Investor Rooted in 9/11 Miniseries Controversy,” at http://www.nationalcenter.org/PR-Disney_Iger_Shareholder031009.html.