Disney CEO Will Miss Meeting With Trump Amid Backlash Over Travel Bans

A petition calling on business leaders to back out of the forum has drawn over 115,000 signatures.

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger will no longer attend President Donald Trump’s meeting with corporate leaders Friday, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline reported.

The meeting will bring more than a dozen executives, all members of an advisory board known as Trump’s Strategy and Policy Forum, to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to discuss the president’s economic policy plans. Those executives have faced pressure to boycott the meeting in response to Trump’s executive order banning refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. 

Iger will instead attend a previously scheduled company board meeting at Disney headquarters in California. According to the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes, Iger told the White House last week he couldn’t attend after Trump’s team changed the date of the meeting. A source at Disney, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed this account but wouldn’t comment further. The White House didn’t return a request for comment. 

Other executives set to attend the forum meeting include JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, GM’s Mary Barra and Blackstone Group’s Stephen A. Schwarzman (who is the chairman of the forum). It’s unclear if Iger plans to attend future meetings or if he will continue to advise the president.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was also a member of the forum and had planned to attend Friday’s meeting. However, Kalanick resigned from the advisory board Thursday after intense criticism over his role on the board as well as the company’s decision to keep Uber drivers on the road during a work stoppage by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance in solidarity with protests against Trump’s Muslim ban. Over the weekend, #DeleteUber took hold on social media networks as angry Uber customers vowed to boycott the ride-hailing company for what they saw as tacit approval of Trump’s policies. 

Other executives on the advisory board, including Iger, have also faced criticism, though not at the level of the Uber boycott. A petition organized by consumer watchdog group SomeOfUs calling on the members of the advisory board to condemn Trump’s executive order and resign from the board has drawn more than 115,000 signatures.

Iger is a frequent Democratic donor and co-hosted a fundraiser for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last summer. Upon joining the forum late last year, Iger described the group as nonpartisan.

“The forum provides a nonpartisan approach to key economic policy issues, reflecting an array of individual perspectives from a cross-section of industries,” he said in a statement. “I welcome the chance to be part of the important discussions about the most effective ways to grow jobs and expand economic opportunity in America.”

Iger has not commented on Trump’s travel ban. 

CORRECTION: An early version of this article referred to Stephen A. Schwarzman as from Blackrock. He is chairman and CEO of The Blackstone Group.

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