Bob Iger Lambasted For CNBC Comments About Strike: “He Came Out Of Retirement To Make $54 Million In Two Years And Says This”

Striking writers now have a new punching bag: Bob Iger.

After telling CNBC’s David Faber Thursday that the labor situation is “very disturbing” and how the Hollywood unions aren’t being realistic about the current financial climate, WGA picketers went postal on social media by pointing out the massive pay disparity between the Disney CEO and most working writers today.

In a lengthy sit-down with CNBC from Sun Valley, Idaho, Iger addressed the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes and his ongoing feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Though his digs at DeSantis were lauded — he called the governor’s claims that Disney is sexualizing children “preposterous and inaccurate”— he lost the Tinseltown rank and file when he said “this is the worst time in the world” to walk off the job.

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“I understand any labor organization’s desire to work on behalf of its members to get the most compensation and be compensated fairly based on the value that they deliver,” Iger said. “We managed, as an industry, to negotiate a very good deal with the directors guild that reflects the value that the directors contribute to this great business. We wanted to do the same thing with the writers, and we’d like to do the same thing with the actors. 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’s comments came a few days before the start of quarterly earnings season, when dozens of public companies will interact with Wall Street analysts and undoubtedly be asked about the labor impasse. Netflix reports its earnings next Wednesday and a number of major media and tech players will follow later this month. While companies exert a great deal of control over earnings calls and can hand-pick analysts to ask certain kinds of questions during Q&A periods, there are often moments for picketing guild members to scrutinize.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who has become a prime target of many picket signs during the WGA walkout, talked to CNBC on the morning of WBD’s last earnings report that “a love of working” shared by both the WGA and AMPTP would ultimately end the strike. The topic of labor, though, did not surface during the official earnings call.

Iger, however, jumped head first into the fray — and was met with extreme vitriol. Check out this tweet from Abigail Disney, the documentary producer who is also the daughter of Roy E. Disney. “You can only call your workers and partners “unrealistic” if you cannot see beyond the confines of the very narrow and morally bankrupt business ideology that has set your company on this long track toward exploitation and injustice,” she wrote.

Here are other reactions to Iger’s comments, which include swipes at Zaslav and how he must be enjoying his moment out of the limelight for once. (Disney had no comment on reactions when contacted by Deadline.)

Dominic Patten contributed to this report.

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