The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger has had a busy few days. The New York Times released a story on the CEO Sunday, featuring a lengthy interview, before he appeared on both Good Morning America and The View on Monday morning to promote the release of his new book, The Ride of a Lifetime.
- During his interview with New York Times, Iger explained that when Rupert Murdoch had asked to speak with him regarding Disney’s potential acquisition of Fox, he assumed the Fox mogul just wanted to ask him if he was planning to run for president.
- He went on to explain that he was actually considering it at the time and when asked, he was dismissive with his response because he simply did not want to tell Murdoch.
- Iger also touched on his decision to pull out of a deal for Disney to acquire Twitter, the social media platform the New York Times refers to as “the Nastiest Place on Earth.”
- “The troubles were greater than I wanted to take on, greater than I thought it was responsible for us to take on,” Iger told the New York Times. “There were Disney brand issues, the whole impact of technology on society. The nastiness is extraordinary. I like looking at my Twitter newsfeed because I want to follow 15, 20 different subjects. Then you turn and look at your notifications and you’re immediately saying, why am I doing this? Why do I endure this pain? Like a lot of these platforms, they have the ability to do a lot of good in our world. They also have an ability to do a lot of bad. I didn’t want to take that on.”
- Iger was also asked about diversity, or lack thereof, amongst top executive at The Walt Disney Company.
- He explained that this lack of diversity was disappointing and vowed to change it before he leaves the company.
- The CEO also discussed his relationship with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, a topic he also carried into Good Morning America.
- With both outlets, he told the story of Jobs revealing to him that his cancer had returned, less than an hour before he was set to announce Disney’s acquisition of Pixar.
- Jobs’ reveal was meant to provide Iger with an opportunity to back out of the deal, an option Iger decided not to take.
- GMA’s Robin Roberts also asked Iger about what’s next for him after he retires from Disney in 2021. She joked that perhaps he would return to his roots as a weatherman before showing some footage of Iger as a reporter at Ithaca College.
- After reliving his college days, Iger responded to the question, saying “I don’t know what’s next,” before jokingly adding “Maybe I’ll just go to Disneyland. You know they say ‘what are you going to do next?’ Go to Disneyland. I’d have to wait on line though.”
- While appearing on The View, Iger reiterated a lot of what we heard previously, but also touched on having to deal with two tragedies, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and the fatal alligator attack on a two-year-old boy at Walt Disney World, moments before cutting the ribbon at Shanghai Disneyland.
- Iger recalled reaching out to the parents of the child just before the opening.
- “I thought it would be actually the crowning moment in my career in terms of achievement,” Iger said. “And here we were trying to celebrate something and all I could think about was that incident and that family. And so I decided that morning to reach out, actually I called the parents. I was able to get them on the phone and spoke with them, without any script, you can’t possibly script that, but as a father and a grandfather I couldn’t fathom what they were experiencing. I wanted to assume responsibility from a person instead of an unnamed corporate executive. And right before I was to go out and cut the ribbon in this joyous moment, that call took place.”
- A photo was shown of Iger trying to compartmentalize the the tragedy before moving onto the opening of the new park.
- Iger wrapped up by talking about Disney+, which will launch November 12.
Bob Iger’s The Ride of a Lifetime is available now.