“He Stuck His Foot In It So Bad”, Backlash Against Iger’s Strike Comments Continues

Bernie Sanders Fran Drescher SAG Strike

On July 14, the Screen Actors Guild officially went on strike, when they could not come to a contract agreement with major studios. SAG actors joined Hollywood writers, who have been on strike since May. It is the first time in 60 years that two of Hollywood’s biggest unions have been on strike at the same time. SAG has said that it wants to renegotiate a number of things, but they are primarily focusing on the use of AI (artificial intelligence) in films and television shows, as well as how studios pay residuals when it comes to streaming.

sag-aftra strike update

Credit: Herman de Keyperling, Flickr

Not long after the SAG strike began, Bob Iger sat down for an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box. During the interview, Iger said that the guild had a number of demands that were just not “realistic.”

 There’s a level of expectation that they have that is just not realistic and they are adding to a set of challenges that this business is already facing that is quite frankly very disruptive and dangerous.

Iger’s comments immediately sparked backlash. Many were shocked that Iger would comment about the union being “realistic”, considering he is worth an estimated $350 million. During the short time that he was retired, Iger spent a lot of time sailing the world on his private yacht. He also made the comments while at a retreat known as “Billionaire’s Summer Camp.”

Bob Iger called out by Fran Drescher

Credit: Disney

One of the people who has repeatedly called out Iger for his out-of-touch comments is SAG President Fran Drescher. Drescher has been leading the charge, fighting for the nearly 200,000 SAG members to get a better deal. Drescher has called Iger’s comments “repugnant” and said that executives like him are acting like “medieval land barons.”

Drescher recently sat down for an interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. During the interview, Sanders asked Drescher about Iger’s comments, and she did not hold back.

He [Iger] stuck his foot in it so bad that, you notice, they’re not letting any of the other CEOs open their mouths. There he is, sitting in his designer clothes, just got off his private yacht, at the Billionaire’s Camp, telling us we’re unrealistic. When he is making $78 thousand a day. How do you deal with someone like that? Who is so tone-deaf? Are you an ignoramus? 

Fran Drescher SAG Strike

Credit: ABC

Rent star, Anthony Rapp, who was a part of SAG’s negotiating committee, also commented on Iger’s “realistic” comment.

I mean, I think it’s unrealistic for a CEO to make $27, $30, $40 million and then refuse to perhaps take a 2% cut in his pay that could fund these things we are proposing back. He would not have his $27, $30, $40 million compensation if it weren’t for the content that the artists create.

Michelle Hurd — who is SAG’s LA Vice President — shared that 87% of SAG members do not make enough to qualify for the union’s health insurance. Hurd has starred in a number of hit shows, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Walking Dead: Dead City, Star Trek: Picard, and Pose, revealed that, despite her constantly working, she has not made enough to qualify for keeping her union life insurance.

You can watch Sanders’ full interview with Ms. Drescher below. Bob Iger is discussed at the 30-minute mark.

Right now, most of Hollywood’s productions are shut down, and productions are at levels not seen since the height of the pandemic. So far, CEOs like Iger have shown no signs of backing down. However, the unions are also holding strong. So, we do not know how long the strikes will last and what kind of impact they will have on the industry.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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