Free Enterprise Action Fund Presents a Political Contributions Shareholder Proposal at Disney Annual Meeting; Disney CEO Outs Politics Ahead of Profits, Mutual Fund Says
For more info contact: Tom Borelli, 914-793-6827, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington DC, March 10, 2009 - The Free Enterprise Action Fund (Ticker: FEAOX) is presenting a shareholder proposal at the Walt Disney Company annual meeting today to increase transparency regarding Disneys political contributions. The FEAOX believes that Disney CEO Bob Igers refusal to sell the DVD of ABC-TV miniseries The Path to 9/11 evidences his liberal political views that conflict with shareholders interests.
Bob Igers refusal to sell the DVD or its distribution rights of the seven-time Emmy-nominated ABC-TV miniseries seems to indicate that his liberal political views come before shareholder interests, said Tom Borelli of Action Fund Management, investment adviser to the FEAOX. We believe that Igers actions demonstrate an arrogant disregard for his fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, added Borelli.
Not only has Disney failed to sell the DVD, rejected inquires from distributor Lionsgate and ignored repeated requests from Action Fund Management to negotiate the purchase of the films distribution rights, Iger and the board of directors have stonewalled every opportunity to earn money from this project, the FEAOX says. Given that Disney share price is down about 50 percent during the last six months and the company is laying-off employees, its irresponsible for Iger to dismiss legitimate offers to profit from the film, said Borelli.
Despite the downturn in Disney share price, Iger is being richly rewarded by the board for his poor leadership his fiscal 2008 compensation package valued at $51.1 million, Borelli added.
The FEAOX is concerned that the political views of Disney CEO Bob Iger may be a key factor in Disney's decision not to sell the DVD. Iger is a long time contributor to the Democratic Party and to Hillary Clinton.
Leading Democratic politicians, Clinton supporters and other left-wing political activists launched a successful intimidation campaign against the broadcast of the miniseries -- which was based on the 9/11 Commission Report -- because they felt the program made the Clinton Administration look weak on terror. Apparently, to appease these critics, Disney edited the program before it aired in 2006 and has since refused to sell its DVD version -- even though Disney lost $40 million on the project.
Disney cant claim the controversial nature of The Path to 9/11 as a reason to not profit from the film. Disney profited from Michael Moores Fahrenheit 9/11 ─ a highly politicized view of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. According to Slate, Disney booked a $46 million net profit while it paid Moore a stunning $21 million for his documentary.
Given that Disney found a way to make money from Fahrenheit 9/11 but not from The Path to 9/11 indicates a political bias on behalf of Disney management, said Borelli.
The political contribution shareholder proposal asks the company to report to shareholders on the policies and procedures for political contributions made with corporate funds. Transparency will allow shareholders an opportunity to determine if company assets are being used to compliment Iger's political views which can harm the long-term interests of Disney and its shareholders.
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