LISTEN: Disney CEO Bob Iger Confronted on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and Joy Behar Using Blackface
Disney CEO Bob Iger was confronted on Thursday about his company’s stance on ABC stars Jimmy Kimmel and Joy Behar having previously worn blackface.
At a Disney shareholder meeting in St. Louis, Iger fielded a question from Justin Danhof — general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank — who pressed the CEO on Kimmel and Behar wearing blackface.
“Mr. Iger, with all of the pride that you place on racial diversity at Disney — and I am specifically recalling the pride that you expressed last year at this meeting and in many media interviews about the success and importance of Black Panther — I find it puzzling that the company seems ok with Kimmel’s and Behar’s previous racist actions,” Danhof said. “Can you comment on their use of blackface? And are they held to a different standard than politicians and newscasters because they are comedians?”
After the confrontational question, Iger noted that he recognized Damhof from shareholder gatherings in previous years. He then responded to the query.
“We don’t condone the use of blackface under any circumstances in our world today,” Iger replied. “We take into account context in all cases when we become aware of people that have been in blackface in public. And the specific incidents that you raised we chose to deal with privately. We did not feel that it required any particular comment, nor do we have anything to say about what actions we may have taken in that regard.”
Danhof followed up by telling Iger he is the “most powerful man in Hollywood,” and as such, his public comments “do mean a lot.”
Iger replied, “We obviously take situations like this very seriously. We’ve taken swift actions as a company at any point when we feel the behavior of someone that works for us is a discredit to our company, themselves, people who work for us, our customers, or society. And we’ve got a great track record here. And this particular incident, we chose to deal with it as a private matter.”
While hosting The Man Show on Comedy Central, Kimmel wore blackface to portray former NBA great Karl Malone, and also Oprah Winfrey. Behar. In 2016 on The View, Behar showed a picture of her in blackface when she was 29, dressed as a “beautiful African woman” at a Halloween party.
Listen above, via the National Center for Public Policy Research.
[featured photo via Getty Images]
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