Back in February, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Disney would be eliminating 7,000 positions in the company. The company would be laying off approximately 4,000 Cast Members and leaving 3,000 open positions unfilled. The layoffs began in late March, just before the April 3 Annual Shareholders Meeting. Many executives lost their jobs as Iger attempted to cut $5.5 billion from the budget. However, one executive says that he was not laid off; he was fired. All because he dared to disagree with Disney’s leadership.
Ike Perlmutter has been a part of Marvel for decades, beginning in 1993, when he became a member of the board of Marvel Comics. In 2001, he became the vice chairman of Marvel. In 2005, he became the CEO of Marvel Comics and remained CEO of Marvel Entertainment after it was purchased by Disney in 2009. Then, in 2015, Marvel President Kevin Feige began reporting to Alan Horn, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios. This was apparently due to the friction between Feige and Perlmutter. Bob Iger even said that Perlmutter was trying to get Feige fired, a claim that Perlmutter disputes.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Perlmutter said that, while reports were that he was let go as part of Disney’s massive layoffs, that’s not the true story. According to Perlmutter, he was fired over “fundamental disagreements” he had with Disney leadership.
Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter says Walt Disney Co. fired him as chairman of Marvel Entertainment because he pushed Disney too aggressively to cut costs and ran afoul of the creative executives whom newly returned Chief Executive Robert Iger wants to empower.
“I have no doubt that my termination was based on fundamental differences in business between my thinking and Disney leadership, because I care about return on investment,” Mr. Perlmutter said…
“All they talk about is box office, box office,” Mr. Perlmutter said. “I care about the bottom line. I don’t care how big the box office is. Only people in Hollywood talk about box office.”
A Disney representative said Tuesday that Horacio Gutierrez, Disney’s general counsel, called Mr. Perlmutter and told him that his job was being terminated as part of the company’s broader effort to cut $5.5 billion from its content and administrative budgets and eliminate 7,000 jobs.
Mr. Perlmutter said he doesn’t remember Mr. Gutierrez giving that rationale for his dismissal.
“It was merely a convenient excuse to get rid of a longtime executive who dared to challenge the company’s way of doing business,” he said.
In addition to speaking his mind with Disney’s executives, Perlmutter also spoke his mind with politicians like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. When ex-CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s controversial Parental Rights In Education bill, Perlmutter said that he called up Governor DeSantis and said that Disney didn’t have the right to get involved in politics. However, Perlmutter never said how he felt about Disney donating money to people like Governor DeSantis.
According to multiple sources, Perlmutter and Feige were at extreme odds because Perlmutter didn’t want to release Marvel movies that were led by people of color or women — like Captain Marvel and Black Panther. Perlmutter said Bob Chapek also wanted to cut spending at Marvel, but said there was nothing he could do about it. Marvel has made The Walt Disney Company billions in profits since its purchase in 2009.