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Investor Fighting for Control of Disney Attacks 'Woke' Films, Aims to Make Disney Entertaining Again

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Between animated box-office flops, superhero duds and a streaming service that’s hemorrhaging members, Disney is losing money like a drunken poker player — except, instead of alcohol, the House of Mouse seems to be gulping down wokeness.

If Nelson Peltz has anything to say about it, that could change in a hurry.

Peltz is a billionaire activist investor and head of the investment firm Trian Fund Management who’s engaged in an increasingly high-stakes battle to right the Disney ship. According to Variety, Peltz is looking to gain two spots on the entertainment giant’s board, which he sees as the biggest problem plaguing the company.

However, his investment firm announced it would withhold its votes to re-elect Disney CEO Bob Iger to the board on Monday. The company’s shareholder meeting is scheduled for April 3.

In an interview with the Financial Times published Sunday, Peltz maintained that he was “not trying to fire Bob Iger” but instead to “help him” — to save his company from wokeness via his proxy fight.

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“A self-styled ‘constructivist,’ Peltz is best known for his turnaround campaigns at big consumer goods companies such as Mondelez, Heinz and Procter & Gamble,” the Financial Times noted. “Trian’s playbook is to buy a stake in a listed company and agitate for improvements, often by seeking a board seat and sometimes pushing for divisions to be broken up or sold.”

In this case, however, Peltz’s strategy is to get Disney back to its roots: namely, entertaining people.

“People go to watch a movie or a show to be entertained,” he said. “They don’t go to get a message.”

As for message-movies he was unhappy with, he took aim at “The Marvels” and “Black Panther.” The all-female sequel to “Captain Marvel” was a spectacular failure at the box office; while the initial “Black Panther” was a commercial and critical success, the significantly woker 2022 sequel, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was neither, and in italics.

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“Why do I have to have a Marvel that’s all women?” Peltz said.

“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?”

As for whether it’s time for Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, to step down after the recent abysmal track record of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Peltz wasn’t willing to commit either way.

“I’m not ready to say that, but I question his record,” Peltz responded when asked about whether Feige should go.

As for Iger, however, he wants him to say.

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“In this election contest, Disney has emphasized that Mr. Iger is admired and respected (including, for example, by service providers and advisors), which we do not doubt,” Peltz’s hedge fund said in a statement.

“Trian supports Mr. Iger as a candidate for the board and as CEO. That Disney spends so much time and ink defending Mr. Iger — while saying almost nothing about the two director candidates whose reelection Trian is challenging — is both troubling and telling.

“This campaign is not about Mr. Iger, nor is it a referendum on his leadership. And in all events, Disney is, and must be, more than just one person, especially one whose contract expires in less than two short years.”

The question becomes whether the push will succeed. Peltz had initially tried to gain a seat on the board in 2023 while also trying to get Disney to plan for a future beyond Bob Iger, who is 73 years old and in his second tenure as CEO of Disney — albeit a far more troublesome stint than his first.

That push didn’t succeed, according to The Wall Street Journal, but Trian only controlled nine million shares of Disney at the time. After joining forces with former Marvel executive Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter in October, that number more than trebled to 33 million shares. (Perlmutter became one of the largest independent shareholders in Disney after he sold Marvel to the entertainment conglomerate in 2009.)

Disney is predictably fighting back with an open letter titled “Oh, Nelson,” featuring quotes from the Financial Times article.

“Imagine the damage Peltz would do to Disney’s boardroom with these perspectives,” the letter read, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Unfortunately for the investors who read it, they don’t have to imagine the damage those currently in the Disney boardroom have wreaked upon the company. All they have to do is look at their stock portfolio.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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