More Than Half a Million People Urge Disney to #QuitTheCouncil

This morning Free Press members joined our allies at FRESC: Good Jobs, Strong Communities and Colorado People’s Alliance outside the annual Disney shareholders meeting in Denver to demand that CEO Bob Iger quit Trump’s business council.

Iger has admitted that he’s participating in the council to get Trump to lower the corporate tax rate — and in so doing he’s condoning the administration’s Muslim ban and other bigoted policies. People rallied today to show Iger and Disney shareholders that there’s nothing magical about collaborating with racists. Chants and song lyrics tweaked classic Disney songs as people expressed support for immigrants and refugees. Signs included culture-jammed images from and Disney movie-poster parodies from People’s Action:

“Disney and any corporation willing to cooperate with Trump do not deserve our money,” said Shanta Farrington of FRESC. “Nor do they deserve a place in our cities and states. We will fight to hold them accountable.”

After the rally the crowd marched to the Colorado Convention Center, where shareholders are meeting, to deliver 511,000 petitions to Disney.

Free Press members contributed thousands of signatures and comments to this effort, asserting that media companies should serve and represent their audiences, not support racist policies that have wrongfully detained hundreds of people.

Here are a few comments from Free Press members around the country:

“I’m a shareholder and urge you and your company to reject Trump's message of hate.” —James, Connecticut

“I come to your parks frequently. The crowds are filled with people of all nationalities. The International Showcase pays tribute to other cultures. It would be hypocritical of Disney to stand with Trump on his immigrant ban.” —Leslie, Ohio

“We are annual pass holders at Disney World and vacation frequently at Disney resorts. We demand that you disassociate yourself from Trump.” —Linda, Florida

“Living in the Disneyland area, my family visits Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure and Downtown Disney frequently. We will no longer be [doing] that or buying any Disney products or seeing any Disney movies until Bob Iger leaves Trump's business council. He needs to stand up to Trump’s hate.” —Alison, California

“I have had stocks in your company for more than 30 years — please do not support this unethical man and his outlandish demands.” —Ren, California

“We are going down to Orlando next week. WE ARE NOT going to Disney World at all, not to any of their stores, properties, restaurants or any place else connected to Disney and [we’ve gone] there EVERY year til now. This is NOT the image you want to be associated with and while we will miss your world, we won’t condone inhumanity in any form.” —Lynne, Pennsylvania

“I am a Disney Vacation Club member and I feel that it is important that you leave the business council to retain the integrity of your brand.” —Sonia, Colorado

“This is not good for children. Show us, your fans and consumers, what creative, courageous action is. This is not a time to go along to get along. Do not support or join this administration which seeks to threaten [the] foundation of law and civil rights.” —Onie, California

“Do not normalize, support or enable racism. Dump Trump.” —Laura, Pennsylvania

Meanwhile, people inside the shareholders meeting signed up to make statements and ask questions. Here are statements two of our allies prepared:

People’s Action Campaigns Director Mehrdad Azemun:

As an immigrant kid from Iran, I grew up in the U.S. and Disney movies became part of my picture of America. They taught me a sense of possibility, the importance of family and community and sharp lines between right and wrong.

By its association, Disney is complicit in Trump’s Muslim ban and his anti-immigrant, anti-refugee agenda. Disney can’t pick and choose which of Trump’s policies they support and which they don’t. The only solution is for Bob Iger to leave Trump’s business council.

Center for Popular Democracy President and Co-Executive Director Jennifer Epps-Addison:

I’m proud to add my voice to the more than 500,000 people calling on Iger to end his collaboration with this divisive, anti-worker, anti-immigrant regime. My family is a Disney family, but families like mine deserve better, and we will not support a company that helps this hateful administration enact discriminatory policies against vulnerable communities.

Pat Miguel Tomaino of Zevin Asset Management noted in the Denver Post that at the meeting the firm planned to introduce a “resolution calling on the company to publish a report of all of its direct lobbying and the lobbying that associations conduct with its membership dues and payments.”

Tomaino’s Op-Ed also notes the risk involved in Iger’s involvement with the business council, which “meets in an unofficial capacity so as to skirt standard transparency and good government requirements.”

People turned up online to show their support too:

This action comes on the heels of February rallies demanding that Iger quit the council. They were held in California, Florida and New York.

These gatherings are happening as part of a larger effort to push the leaders of 19 other major companies to quit the council. Free Press is also demanding that tech companies like Tesla — which have gotten a lot of credit for taking verbal stands against Trump’s despicable Muslim ban — put their money where their mouths are and quit the council. Silicon Valley prides itself on a culture of innovation, but there’s nothing innovative about condoning racism.

This kind of pressure works. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick recently left Trump’s business council after calls to #DeleteUber rattled the company.

We’ll continue to stand with our friends at the following organizations, which collectively represent millions of people, to push Disney and other companies to leave Trump’s council: the Center for Media Justice, the Center for Popular Democracy, Color Of Change, CREDO Action, Greenpeace, Muslim Advocates, People’s Action, Public Citizen, the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative, SumOfUs, UltraViolet and the Working Families Party.

Scroll below for a few photos from today’s action. To see the full Flickr album click here. To see a video of rally highlights click here.

Photos courtesy of Tony Gallagher Photography

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good