Disney CEO Bob Iger

Aww, Poor Bob Iger Says the WGA & SAG Strikes Are ‘Very Disturbing’

Bob Iger, the CEO of the Walt Disney Company, wants us to know he’s disturbed by the demands of writers and actors on strike. His pitiful response comes as a Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike looms on the horizon after the labor union’s contract expired without a satisfactory deal being reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Initially, a new contract was to be bargained by June 30, but SAG-AFTRA extended that deadline to July 12. Now that the second deadline has come and gone with no contract, a strike seems imminent.

Recommended Videos

If SAG-AFTRA does strike, Hollywood will have two strikes from major labor unions on its hands. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since May 2, 2023, and there is no end in sight, with studios threatening to withhold negotiations until writers go broke and lose their homes. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA have similar demands for their new contracts. Each is seeking higher compensation, a solution for the loss of residuals from streaming, and better job security and working conditions. Writers are also requesting that studios refrain from using artificial intelligence for the writing process, while SAG-AFTRA wants to prevent studios from using AI to recreate actors and performers without compensation.

These demands are reasonable and also very necessary considering how drastically Hollywood has changed in just a few years due to the rise of streaming and advancements in AI. These actors and writers simply want compensation and protection from the studios that profit greatly off of their work. So, we’re not really sure why Iger finds these demands “very disturbing.”

Bob Iger complains about WGA & SAG-AFTRA strikes

Iger recently extended his contract as the CEO of Disney, meaning he will remain in the position through 2026. As reported by IndieWire, shortly after the extension was announced, Iger appeared at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference to discuss the direction of the studio. While addressing things like Ron DeSantis’ outlandish attacks on Disney and a series of flops at the box office, Iger was asked about the impact of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. He responded that he was disturbed by the demands of writers and actors and condemned them for striking and causing disruptions at the “worst time in the world,” as Hollywood and Disney are still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to complaining about the actors and writers striking at an inconvenient time for Hollywood, Iger claimed that what the WGA and SAG-AFTRA are asking for isn’t “realistic.” However, he could not specify which demands were unrealistic or why they were unrealistic in his eyes. Of course, Iger’s comments haven’t gone over very well. He seems to have missed the fact that the entire point of a strike is to be disruptive; strikes are a drastic measure taken to get the attention and cooperation of Hollywood. Iger’s comment about the timing of the strike also doesn’t make sense. Contracts for labor unions in Hollywood are usually renewed on a three-year basis. Were writers just supposed to wait another three years without compensation for their work because a strike in 2023 is inconvenient to Iger?

According to Fortune, Iger is slated to receive a whopping $27 million salary from Disney. His base salary is $1 million, but he is expected to receive an extra $26 million in bonuses and stock awards. So of course he’s concerned that the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike might affect that extra $26 million he’s aiming for. However, no one expecting either a $1 million salary or a $27 million salary should be complaining about “unrealistic” compensation demands from writers and actors. Additionally, in March it was reported that Disney’s revenue was $82.722 billion in 2022 alone. Meanwhile, the WGA is only asking for an extra $429 million for writers per year between all of the major Hollywood studios, meaning the final cost to individual studios like Disney would be mere pennies compared to their yearly earnings.

Iger is just the latest Hollywood executive to feign poverty in the face of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes while sitting on millions and billions. Regardless of how he spins it, Iger and Disney aren’t the ones who need sympathy. Disney’s various problems are not the problems of writers and actors. They don’t have to be compliant to avoid hurting Disney and Iger. In fact, they should strive to be more disturbing and disruptive, as it is the only tool they have to get studios to finally heed their calls.

(via IndieWire, featured image: Kevin Dietsch, Getty Images)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.