Progressive Policies at Walt Disney Risk Damage to its Brand Image, says the Free Enterprise Project; Shareholders Urged to Challenge CEO Bob Iger at Disney’s Annual Meeting

On occasion of the Disney annual shareholder meeting today, the Free Enterprise Project is warning Disney shareholders that CEO Robert Iger’s progressive political bias puts investors at risk. 

The Free Enterprise Project is a program of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a Disney shareholder.

“Iger’s rejection of several offers to sell the distribution rights of the ABC-TV docudrama, The Path to 9/11, is a sign that his personal political views are affecting business decisions,” said Free Enterprise Project director Dr. Tom Borelli, who has raised the issue personally with Iger at past shareholder meetings.  “In addition, Disney’s close ties to progressive Democrats, including President Obama, may have resulted in ABC News’ special access to cover the president’s health care policy in a day-long media blitz last year.”

“Iger’s policy decisions are putting Disney in the cross-hairs of millions of Americans who are rejecting the progressive assault on liberty.  By rebuffing offers to sell the distribution rights of The Path to 9/11, Iger is simultaneously silencing speech while denying shareholders an opportunity to profit from the company’s investment,” Borelli added. “Playing progressive politics is a dangerous game for a company such as Disney that relies on a squeaky clean brand for its revenue.”

The political motivation behind Iger’s decision to bury the docudrama remains a topic of discussion years after its broadcast.  Some assert that Iger’s motivation to not let the award winning miniseries see the light of day is driven by his desire to protect the legacy of President Clinton regarding terrorism. 

Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood recently reported on the issues surrounding Iger’s controversial verdict.

Last June, ABC News was given special access to the White House to cover President Obama’s health care initiative.  ABC’s “Good Morning America” was broadcasted from the White House lawn, “World News,” its nightly news show from the Blue Room, and a special prime time “Questions for the President: Prescription for America,” from the East Room.

“A monopoly given to ABC for news coverage raises serious concerns of media independence.  The perception that the White House is choosing ABC over other news organizations because of favorable coverage has the potential to damage the credibility of Disney’s news division,” said Borelli.

The proximity between Iger and his team with progressives only adds concerns about media independence.  Not only is Iger a generous supporter of progressive politicians (about ninety percent of his donations go to Democrats and liberal PACs), but Disney board member Monica C. Lozano, CEO of La Opinion, a major Spanish-language newspaper in the U.S., is a member of Obama’s economic recovery board.

“The close alliance between Disney and the Obama Administration can be a risk to shareholders.  What happens to Disney if Tea Party members and other liberty-minded activists turn on the company because of concerns that Iger is using the company to advance the goals of the progressive movement?,” asks Borelli. 

“‘I’m not going to Disney World’ could become the battle cry for American patriots.”

Given these risks, shareholders attending Disney’s annual meeting should ask Iger:

With millions of Americans outraged over the progressive attack on liberty, are you concerned your refusal to sell The Path to 9/11, and your personal support of the progressive agenda will cause a conservative backlash against Disney’s brands?

The shareholder meeting is on March 10, 2010 at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country, San Antonio, Texas.

The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, constitutionalist, free-market non-profit established in 1982.  It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, and receives less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.