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As multiple corporations speak out against President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting Muslim-majority nations, his policy forum at the White House has lost a key attendee.
Disney chief executive Bob Iger won’t be attending the forum planned for this week, a source tells The Hollywood Reporter. A company board meeting, scheduled for several months, had been set for Friday.
Notably, Iger was one of the only entertainment industry execs slated to appear at the event, which was organized by Blackstone chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman. Iger’s planned participation was criticized by some in the studio, especially animators.
In early December, Trump had billed the event as a meeting of “CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth.” SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick were also previously scheduled to attend the forum.
Uber, in particular, has been in damage-control mode for the past several days. A #DeleteUber hashtag was launched by progressives targeting the company for Kalanick’s planned attendance at the forum and for providing service to John F. Kennedy Airport during a time when the largely Muslim immigrant taxi drivers workforce in New York had imposed a one-hour work stoppage to protest the ban.
Kalanick addressed the controversy in an email to employees on Saturday, writing in opposition to the travel ban but noting that he was attending the economic policy meeting to have “a seat at the table.” He also cited Iger’s planned attendance in his note.
“I understand that many people internally and externally may not agree with that decision, and that’s OK. It’s the magic of living in America that people are free to disagree,” Kalanick wrote.
Pressure for corporate execs to boycott the meeting with Trump has grown since the event was originally announced on Dec. 2, following the widely criticized “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Entry Into the United States” executive order last Friday that left some travelers detained in airports over the weekend.
Other attendees unveiled for the forum included JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
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