Disney's Activist Investor Slams 'Woke' Marvel Films

'Why do I need an all-Black cast?' Nelson Peltz asks in interview with 'Financial Times'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2024 12:42 PM CDT
Disney Activist Investor Peltz: 'I Don't Want Iger to Go'
In this Aug. 16, 2006, file photo, Nelson Peltz addresses Heinz shareholders during the company's annual meeting in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, file)

Black Panther's target demographic isn't necessarily the white octogenarian set, and you can count Disney activist investor Nelson Peltz as not a fan of the highly rated 2018 action-adventure flick. Peltz recently gave a wide-ranging interview with the Financial Times in which he criticized a too "woke" Disney. "People go to watch a movie or a show to be entertained," Peltz, whose hedge fund Trian Partners, along with fellow activist investor Blackwells Capital, is trying to seize two seats on Disney's board, said in the FT chat last week. "They don't go to get a message."

The 81-year-old then went after last year's The Marvels and then Black Panther specifically, which "portrayed female and Black superheroes, respectively," notes FT. "Why do I have to have a Marvel that's all women?" he complained. "Not that I have anything against women, but why do I have to do that? Why can't I have Marvels that are both? Why do I need an all-Black cast?" Variety notes that The Marvels doesn't feature an all-female cast, nor does Black Panther host an all-Black one. The outlet also notes that Peltz has acknowledged in the past his lack of experience in the media industry.

Blackwells Capital, for one, wasn't thrilled with Peltz's remarks, calling them "disturbing public statements," per the Wrap. In a statement Monday, Blackwells called Peltz's comments "an affront to Disney's customers, employees, and shareholders" and said he should be disqualified from a board seat. Disney's take, in its own statement: "Imagine the damage Peltz would do in Disney's boardroom with these perspectives."

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As for Iger, Peltz insists he's not trying to see the Disney CEO dumped. "I don't want Iger to go," he told FT. He adds: "Disney is stupid because I'm not trying to fire Bob Iger, I want to help him." He also weighs in on a suit that accused him of being a "bully billionaire." "That's probably true," he says. "What sense is being a billionaire if you're not a bully?" Much more of his interview here. (More Nelson Peltz stories.)

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