Walt Disney executive chairman Bob Iger wants
Iger, who has been the chief of Disney for 15 years, told people close to the incoming Biden administration that he’s interested in being the US ambassador to China, people familiar with the matter said to the
Iger is reportedly ‘at the top of Biden’s wish list’ for a key ambassador post, likely in China or the UK,
Though he’d be an unusual choice for the position that’s usually assigned to governors and senators, he’s spent decades working with China and has a long-running relationship with President
Some say that appointing Iger to ambassador would be a ‘bow to Beijing,’ as Disney has been heavily criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for kowtowing to Beijing to keep their business there.
Whoever takes on the role will have to grapple with tensions between the two countries due to the ongoing trade war and human rights abuses in China.
Walt Disney executive chairman Bob Iger wants Joe Biden to make him the US ambassador to China and is reportedly on top of the president-elect’s list for a position as ambassador to either China or the UK, according to a new report
Most recently Disney was slammed for cutting a kissing scene in the live adaption of Mulan, which was released in September, because Chinese officials thought it was inappropriate for their audience.
Disney was also slammed by politicians when the film’s ending credits thanked the local officials in Xinjiang for letting the company film there. The Western province is where members of the Muslim Uighur minority have been held in detention facilities.
Since Biden has won the election there have been talks between big donors and Biden’s transition team about ambassador appointments, though Biden’s people say Cabinet positions are the current focus, sources said.
Iger supported Biden in his presidential run and has signaled that he’s interested in serving in the Biden administration in a number of capacities, according to a person close to him.
Iger gave $500,000 to the Biden Victory Fund during the 2020 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records and donated $85,100 to other efforts to elect Democrats in the Senate and the House.
Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is also a Democratic donor, suggested several weeks ago to the Biden transition team that Iger would make a good ambassador to China, people familiar with the matter said.
Katzenberg reportedly didn’t speak with Iger about the suggestion before he pitched it to the Biden team.
One person familiar with the discussions say that the most respected ambassadorships are expected to go to people ‘who have been with Joe forever.’
So far Biden has only announced plans to nominate one ambassador: Linda Thomas Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations.
If Biden chooses Iger he could be criticized for not having a strong enough stance on Beijing.
‘[Biden’s] Cabinet picks are on board with the global reset agenda,’ Ingraham said Wednesday.
She blasted Biden for picking Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary saying, ‘he wants you to pay more for everything powered by oil and gas.’
Iger has spent years working with China and has a long-running relationship with President Xi Jinping (above)
First Disney theme park in China: Then-Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner (right) pictured with Iger (center) and Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa. Hong Kong is considered a Special Administrative Region controlled by The People’s Republic of China
Many businesses, including Disney, have been currying favor with China to cash in on their massive and growing market.
For years people have wondered what Iger will do next and this could be his foray into politics.
He delayed his retirement from Disney and named Bob Chapek as CEO in February and became executive chairman. His contract is set to expire in December 2021.
He has voiced his interest in politics before and even toyed with running in the Democratic primary in 2020.
Iger’s relationship with China goes back to the 1990s when his then-boss CEO Michael Eisner introduced him to high ranking officials. In that visit Disney apologized for releasing Martin Scorsese’s movie Kundun, which was considered sympathetic to the Dalai Lama.
Iger is friends with President Xi and once presented him with a photo of Xi’s father visiting Disneyland in 1980.
So far Biden has only announced plans to nominate one ambassador: Linda Thomas Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations
When Iger took the helm of Disney as CEO in 2005 he inherited a campaign for the company to break into the Chinese market.
The company succeeded and now has a Disney theme park in Shanghai and billions of dollars in box-office profits.
While Disney is one of America’s most successful studios operating in China, it has been heavily criticized by politicians for taking great strides to keep good relations with Chinese officials.
In July Attorney General Bill Bar warned that ‘if Disney and other American corporations continue to bow to Beijing, they risk undermining their own future competitiveness and prosperity as well as the classical liberal order that has allowed them to thrive.’
Disney’s ESPN division fell into hot water when broadcasts of the NBA’s games were banned after a Houston Rockets executive expressed support for Hong Kong protesters rallying against China’s government.
Disney’s ESPN division is partnered with a Chinese conglomerate to air the games.
When asked about the controversy in October 2019 Iger said: ‘To take a position that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake.’
Disney has made several adaptions for their Chinese viewing audience. In the movie Captain America Chris Evans uses a Chinese-made Vivo phone and in the Chinese version of Iron Man 3 extra scenes only aired in the country showed Chinese surgeons save Tony Stark’s life.