Disney CEO Bob Iger Says Writers & Actors Aren’t Being “Realistic”





The WGA strike has been ongoing since May 2nd. As of midnight last night, major studios still had yet to offer an acceptable deal to SAG-AFTRA, exceeding the extended period of contract negotiations without finalizing a new agreement. SAG-AFTRA members have already nearly unanimously voted in favor of a strike ahead of last night’s negotiation deadline. A strike is imminent according to union members and would cease all scripted productions but has yet to officially begin.

This morning on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, Disney’s CEO voiced his frustrations regarding ongoing contract negotiations with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA). 

In a statement reported by Variety, Bob Iger said:

“It’s very disturbing to me. We’ve talked about disruptive forces on this business and all the challenges we’re facing, the recovery from COVID which is ongoing, it’s not completely back. This is the worst time in the world to add to that disruption. I understand any labor organization’s desire to work on behalf of its members to get the most compensation and be compensated fairly based on the value that they deliver. We managed, as an industry, to negotiate a very good deal with the directors guild that reflects the value that the directors contribute to this great business. We wanted to do the same thing with the writers, and we’d like to do the same thing with the actors. There’s a level of expectation that they have, that is just not realistic. And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”

He went on to say, “It will have a very, very damaging effect on the whole business, and unfortunately, there’s huge collateral damage in the industry to people who are supportive services, and I could go on and on. It will affect the economy of different regions, even, because of the sheer size of the business. It’s a shame, it is really a shame.”

Iger states Disney’s distribution model is “broken” and the studio can’t offer the deals both unions are standing firm on until these issues are remedied. Iger said after resuming his role as CEO, he found an excessive number of “disruptive forces” threatening the future of the studio.

“The studios and streamers have implemented massive unilateral changes in our industry’s business model, while at the same time insisting on keeping our contracts frozen in amber,” SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement reported by The Washington Post earlier today. “Their refusal to meaningfully engage with our key proposals and the fundamental disrespect shown to our members is what has brought us to this point. The studios and streamers have underestimated our members’ resolve, as they are about to fully discover.”

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