The feud between billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and the CEO of Disney has escalated, with the former demanding Iger’s firing. This comes in response to Disney’s decision to pull advertisements from the X, formerly Twitter-like social media platform that Musk owns and where he frequently voices his opinions. The move by Disney was a direct result of a post on the platform that Musk made endorsing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
In the since-deleted post, Mr. Musk shared a meme that referenced the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that claimed Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with other prominent Democrats, were running a sex trafficking operation out of a pizza shop in Washington, DC. This is a falsehood that gained traction in the far-right in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election and even inspired one man to travel to Pittsburgh and shoot 11 people at a synagogue in 2018.
Disney is the latest advertiser to cut ties with X, which Musk has been trying to clean up by banning certain content and adding new filters to keep out hate speech and misinformation. The platform is also experimenting with a new $8 verification model, restoring banned accounts, and rebranding to X. During a DealBook summit, Mr Musk acknowledged that if advertisers continue to flee the platform, it could bankrupt his company. “What it’s going to do is kill the company,” he said, warning that the departure of significant advertisers would leave the platform unable to pay its bills and possibly lead to the site censoring itself entirely.
Mr Iger’s return to Disney in 2017 was a surprise, and he has been credited with steering the entertainment giant to global dominance through strategic acquisitions of studios like Pixar, Marvel, and 21st Century Fox, as well as its theme parks and streaming service. In addition, his tenure at Disney has seen the company’s stock price rise five-fold.
However, his time at the company hasn’t been without controversy, and in recent days, he’s come under fire for expressing what some see as ill-advised political views. In particular, he’s been criticized for using his position as Chairman of the Board of SpaceX to promote a stance on immigration that some have interpreted as anti-Muslim.
On Thursday, Mr Musk took to social media, where he frequently voices his opinions, to express his discontent with Iger’s actions. “Walt Disney is turning in his grave over what Bob has done to his company,” he wrote, suggesting that Iger should be fired immediately. This isn’t the first time Mr Musk has called for the termination of Iger. In February, the two men traded public insults and fought over the company’s future. Despite the heated exchange, it’s still being determined whether their dispute has any bearing on the fate of the other’s business.