Disney CEO Bob Iger, who is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, says the current Hollywood strike for fair pay is “unrealistic.”
The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since May, and SAG-AFTRA, the actors union, is poised to join them as soon as Thursday. Among their contract demands are adjustments to compensation to account for streaming services, and the promise that they will not be replaced by AI.
“It’s very disturbing to me,” Iger told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Thursday morning. “There’s a level of expectation that they have, that is just not realistic. And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”
Iger said he respects the right of unions to “get as much as they possibly can in compensation for their people,” but people have to be “realistic about the business environment, and what this business can deliver.”
For context, Iger’s estimated net worth in 2019 was $690 million. And that number has likely only gone up. At the time of the Forbes estimate, Disney was paying him a salary of $65.6 million.
Iger left Disney in 2021, but returned the following year. He was paid $15 million in 2022, despite only starting in November. He could earn up to $27 million this year.
His words also ring a little hollow considering that several Hollywood studios boasted about rising profits just days after the writers guild went on strike. Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount saw millions of dollars in streaming profits, while Apple reported revenue in the billions. Meanwhile, writers are being paid pennies in residuals, or their share of the payments for every time an episode of their show gets streamed.
Hollywood executives have also said their plan is to simply let the strike continue until the writers run out of money and have no choice but to go back to work. “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” one executive told Deadline, speaking anonymously. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has publicly denied the allegations.