Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz slams Disney for all-women and all-black Marvel casts – sparking furious letter warning ‘the damage this BULLY would do if he were allowed on the board’

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Activist investor Nelson Peltz has slammed Disney for its all-women and all-black casts as he seeks a seat on the company’s board
  • In response the entertainment giant issued a letter to its shareholders arguing that Peltz would ‘damage Disney’s boardroom’ with his anti-woke perspectives
  • It comes as a board meeting on April 3 will decide whether Peltz gains two seats on the company’s board following a long-waged proxy battle 

Activist investor Nelson Peltz has slammed Disney for its all-women and all-black casts as he seeks a seat on the company’s board. 

Peltz, a Trump supporter and long-time critic of Disney’s move towards ‘woke’ messaging – is currently waging his second proxy battle for greater control of the entertainment giant.   

‘People go to watch a movie or a show to be entertained, they don’t go to get a message’ Peltz told the Financial Times last week ahead of a crucial April 3 vote that will determine the battle’s outcome.  

‘Why do I have to have a Marvel that’s all women? 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?’ Peltz told the publication. 

In response to the interview, Disney’s board sent a letter to shareholders defending their creative output and outlined resistance to Peltz seeking a seat on its board. 

Activist investor Nelson Peltz has slammed Disney for its all-women and all-black casts as he seeks a seat on the company’s board

'Why do I have to have a Marvel that's all women?' Peltz told the Financial Times

‘Why do I have to have a Marvel that’s all women?’ Peltz told the Financial Times 

Peltz also hit out at Marvel's all-black casts, such as Black Panther in the interview

Peltz also hit out at Marvel’s all-black casts, such as Black Panther in the interview 

Referencing his comments made to FT that there is no sense in ‘being a billionaire if you’re not a bully?’ the letter read ‘imagine the damage Peltz would do to Disney’s boardroom with these perspectives.’ 

The letter also argued that Peltz ‘brings no additive skills to the board’ as he does not understand the business. 

‘Peltz, including his silent partner Ike Perlmutter, would harm Disney and jeopardize our strategic transformation,’ the letter added.

Former Marvel Entertainment chairman and CEO Ike Perlmutter is supporting Peltz’s proxy fight and has also criticized Marvel’s move towards ‘woke’ casting. 

Peltz has nominated himself and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo to the board of the entertainment giant’s directors, slamming CEO Bob Iger as ‘underperforming.’

His firm Trian Fund Management, which owns about $2.5 billion worth of Disney shares, submitted the filing on Thursday, sparking a second proxy war in the company in just two years. 

The firm is in turn being supported by influential advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, which is recommending that its clients vote in Peltz’s favor. 

The vote will take place at the next board meeting on April 3.

Current CEO Bob Iger has received support from former CEO Michael Eisner and the grandchildren of Walt Disney and Roy Disney. 

Nelson Peltz announced plans to nominate himself and former House of Mouse CFO Jay Rasulo to the Disney board of directors

Nelson Peltz announced plans to nominate himself and former House of Mouse CFO Jay Rasulo to the Disney board of directors

In a video released online, Disney said Peltz has a long history of 'attacking companies to the ultimate detriment' of shareholders and said it would be 'disruptive' and 'value-destructive' to include him and crony Jay Rasulo

In a video released online, Disney said Peltz has a long history of ‘attacking companies to the ultimate detriment’ of shareholders and said it would be ‘disruptive’ and ‘value-destructive’ to include him and crony Jay Rasulo

Earlier this month, Disney released a three-minute takedown video of Peltz. 

The political-style video said Peltz has a long history of ‘attacking companies to the ultimate detriment’ of shareholders and said it would be ‘disruptive’ and ‘value-destructive’ to include him and crony Jay Rasulo.

‘Disney could suffer the same fate as other great companies that Peltz has previously infiltrated, such as G.E. and DuPont. Nelson Peltz has a long history of attacking companies to the ultimate detriment of shareholder value,’ the narrator claims.

The video states that Pelt’s quest for a board seat ‘seems more about vanity than a belief in Disney.’ 

The clip also called Disney Perlmutter a ‘disgruntled former employee’ with a personal grudge against Iger.

Trian’s Thursday filing did not reveal which directors Peltz and Rasulo want to replace, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. The names will come at a later date.

In the filing, Trian repeated its concern over Disney’s less than stellar stock performance, and said it plans to ‘align management pay with performance’ – and called out Iger’s $30million pay package last year while stock continued to underperform.

Trian's Thursday filing did not reveal which directors Peltz and Rasulo want to replace on Disney's board

Trian’s Thursday filing did not reveal which directors Peltz and Rasulo want to replace on Disney’s board

CEO Bob Iger has received support from former CEO Michael Eisner and the grandchildren of Walt Disney and Roy Disney

CEO Bob Iger has received support from former CEO Michael Eisner and the grandchildren of Walt Disney and Roy Disney

Billionaire Nelson Peltz (left) pictured with his daughter Nicola (right) - who married Brooklyn Beckham in 2022 - launched his first proxy war in January and called on Disney to 'restore the magic'

Billionaire Nelson Peltz (left) pictured with his daughter Nicola (right) – who married Brooklyn Beckham in 2022 – launched his first proxy war in January and called on Disney to ‘restore the magic’

The firm also said it will push Disney to ‘target and achieve Netflix-like margins of 15 to 20 percent by FY 2027’ for its streaming service and ‘finally complete a successful CEO succession.’

Moreover, Trian intends to conduct a ‘board-led review of creative processes and structure to restore leadership accountability’ at the company and create a ‘clear path’ for ESPN and the theme parks.

Peltz’s first proxy war last January called on Disney to ‘restore the magic’ amid criticism the media conglomerate had become too political.

He withdrew from the initial fight after Iger unveiled a cost-cutting plan involving 7,000 layoffs and restructuring to save around $5.5 billion.

However, Disney shares plummeting by 12.5 percent over the last year has prompted the activist investor to renew his bid for power.

Trian Investment Fund holds about 33 million shares, making it one of the largest investors out of Disney’s 1.8 billion shares. 

Meanwhile Iger is said to be ‘overwhelmed and exhausted’ after extending his contract for three more years while battling dropping share prices and challenges to his leadership.

In September, Iger revealed the company will ‘quiet the noise’ around cultural issues because it has shown to be bad for business.

The company has been stuck in a legal battle with the Florida government and Ron DeSantis after former CEO Bob Chapek criticized the so called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

DeSantis targeted Disney’s special tax district, replaced the board of it with his allies and led the charge to change the name from the Reedy District to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

Before the DeSantis-picked board took control, Disney created development contract for future investments. Those were thrown-out by the new board, which led to a federal lawsuit.

Disney has since dropped a massive chunk of its federal lawsuit against the Florida Governor.

Iger has extended his contract until 2026 and hinted that he will re-retire at that point, once a proper successor has been found and named.

Peltz’s daughter, Nicola, married Brooklyn Beckham in 2022 and has been accused of having been a ‘nightmare bride’ in a new documentary about her bitter dispute with her wedding planners.

Brooklyn BeckhamWoke Culture

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