Elon Musk has dramatically escalated his confrontation with Disney, calling for CEO Bob Iger to be fired immediately due to the company’s advertising relationship with Meta Platforms. This comes as Musk battles an exodus of advertisers from Twitter amid controversies over content moderation.
Musk Berates Iger for Advertising on Meta Platforms
In an interview on Twitter Spaces on December 7th, Musk unleashed a tirade against Iger, accusing Disney of “advertising on a platform that exploits children” by placing ads on Facebook and Instagram.
“Does Disney want to associate its brand with child exploitation?” asked Musk. “I think not… But if Disney does not remove its advertising, that is associating the Disney brand directly with child exploitation.”
He went on to demand Iger’s firing, stating “The sheer magnitude of child exploitation content on Facebook/[Meta] should be extremely concerning to Disney. Bob Iger must resign from Meta board if one child is exploited on Meta.”
Musk posted further tweets blasting Iger, saying “I’d bet it’s over a thousand times more child exploitation content on Facebook than on Pornhub” and “What does Disney stand for: Exploiting Children?”.
Backdrop of Advertiser Exodus from Twitter
Musk’s lashing out at Disney comes as Twitter faces an advertiser exodus over controversies about its content moderation direction under Musk’s ownership.
Key details on the advertiser pullout:
- Over 500 major advertisers have now paused spending on Twitter, including Disney, Warner Bros, United Airlines and others
- This spending freeze has cost Twitter over $750 million in projected Q4 ad revenue
- Advertisers cite brand safety concerns over Musk’s plans for less content moderation
- Twitter has also faced backlashes over spikes in hate speech, misinformation and impersonations
This crisis has put severe financial strain on Twitter, with Musk warning it faces bankruptcy if more advertisers flee the platform.
Iger’s Role on Meta’s Board in Focus
A focal point of Musk’s Disney criticism is Bob Iger’s position on Meta’s board of directors, which he has held since 2020.
As a board member, Iger provides guidance and oversight on Meta’s business strategy and direction. Key responsibilities include:
- Advising on user safety, security and integrity of Meta’s platforms
- Guiding policies, procedures and responses regarding harmful content
- Overseeing major risks, regulatory matters and corporate reputation
Musk contends Iger is thus accountable for child exploitation material on Meta’s platforms like Facebook and Instagram. His demands for Iger’s firing aim to force Disney to confront this perceived hypocrisy of advertising on Meta while serving on its board.
Musk Draws Comparisons to Historical Disney Values
In attacking Disney’s advertising relationship with Meta, Musk invoked the legacy of Walt Disney himself, saying:
“I think Walt Disney is turning over in his grave much faster than a rotor blade on a turbine engine right now.”
He accused the company of betraying its founder’s commitment to wholesome family entertainment, stating:
“Walt Disney would never allow this, obviously. He created Disneyland as a place where children could feel safe. Facebook exploits and harms children with avidity!”
|Walt Disney founded animation studio
|Mickey Mouse debuts in Steamboat Willie
|Disneyland opens in Anaheim, CA
|Walt Disney dies; company led by Roy Disney
|Michael Eisner becomes Disney CEO
|Bob Iger succeeds Eisner as CEO
|Bob Iger joins Meta board of directors
This table charts key points in Disney history Musk argues have been betrayed.
What’s Next in Musk’s Crusade Against Big Tech
Musk shows no signs of backing down in his escalating crusade against Disney, Meta and perceived hypocrisy in Big Tech regarding child safety.
Several key developments could unfold next:
- Continued attacks on Disney/Iger: Musk likely to keep up verbal assaults until Disney severs ties with Meta
- Targeting other advertisers: Musk may similarly confront other Twitter advertiser giants like Apple and Google on perceived double standards
- Legal threats: Musk could threaten lawsuits against Disney, Iger, Meta or others to force his desired actions
- Regulatory complaints: Musk could file complaints with regulators over alleged child safety violations by Disney, Meta etc
As Musk wages these battles, the ultimate fate of Twitter hangs in the balance amidst its dire financial straits. His scorched earth campaign carries massive risk, but with Trump returning soon, Musk shows no signs of backing down.
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