Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger has had a busy couple of weeks. He began his “bloodbath” layoffs at the Disney Company by cutting several positions in television, the entire meta division, and several of his rivals. He has used these layoffs to purge Disney of seemingly everyone and every idea former CEO Bob Chapek had while in charge of the Walt Disney Company.
This past week also saw Disney one-up Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in this takeover of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. As the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District oversaw Disney, it learned that the previous board had stripped it of all its power. In a quietly sneaky move, the Walt Disney Company outsmarted the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and Governor DeSantis.
If that weren’t enough for Iger, April 3 brings an earnings call with Wall Street investors. In Iger’s February earnings call, his first since returning as CEO, he essentially announced that he was restricting the entire company and laying off 7,000 employees.
And now, as if Iger’s week could not have gotten more stressful, Axios reports that Iger will sit down with a bi-partisan Congressional delegation to discuss China. The newly formed House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party will head to Los Angeles and Silicon Valley to discuss Disney, Apple, and other tech companies’ relationship with China.
Disney CEO Bob Iger will be the first executive to meet with the Committee, led by Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI). For Iger and the other CEOs to speak candidly with the delegation, all of the meetings will be held in private at Disney’s offices.
A committee aide told Axios:
This can’t all be defensive. We also need to be thinking about offensive and how do we out-compete. This is intended to just hear mostly from them about how they’re thinking about various issues.
Disney’s relationship with China has been complicated, at best. During Bob Chapek’s time as CEO, the communist nation clamped down on releasing Disney films in China. But since Iger’s return, Disney has secured a release for Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), which was incredibly successful in China.
China has also pressured Disney to censor several shows on Disney Plus, including The Simpsons.
Disney and Marvel Studios also released Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), which both flopped in China. Disney has also received permission to release Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 (2023) later this year in China.
Iger will be meeting with the Congressional Delegation on April 5. He is the only Hollywood CEO that is meeting with them. They will discuss artificial intelligence, intellectual property, and human rights abuses by China. The Committee will meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook on April 7.
The Committee isn’t currently proposing any legislation based on these meetings. However, it hopes to develop a comprehensive policy for the United States dealing with China.
We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.