Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company “chose to deal with privately” with the past incidents of current Disney employees Jimmy Kimmel and Joy Behar darkening their skin, both of which have resurfaced in recent months.
Those issues were brought up at Disney’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday by the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Justin Danhof. He asked Iger to comment on the two’s history — Kimmel wore dark makeup when playing NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone and Oprah Winfrey on “The Man Show,” while Behar attended a Halloween party in the 1970s dressed as a “beautiful African woman.”
Danhof asked Iger if they’re “held to a different standard than politicians and newscasters because they are comedians?” Here was Iger’s response: “The specific incidents that you raised, we chose to deal with privately. We did not feel that it required any particular comment. And nor do we have anything to say about what actions we may have taken in that regard.”
The National Center for Public Policy Research is an organization that says it provides “the conservative movement with a versatile and energetic organization capable of responding quickly and decisively to fast-breaking issues.” Dunhof is the director of its Free Enterprise Project, which focuses on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business.
Last month, conservative critics called out Kimmel, along with fellow late-night host Jimmy Fallon, for not making jokes about Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who gained national attention for his admission that he dressed up in blackface in the 1980s. Those critics pointed to Kimmel’s past on “The Man Show” as a reason for why he remained silent.
Also last month, the old photo of Behar resurfaced as well. Behar had previously addressed it on a 2016 taping of “The View.”
“We obviously take situations like this very seriously,” Iger continued. “We’ve taken swift action as a company at any point when we feel the behavior of someone that works for us is a discredit to our company, themselves, people who work for us, our customers, our society. And we’ve got a great track record there. And this particular incident – when we chose to deal with it as a private matter.”
You can listen to the full back-and-forth between Iger and Dunhof here.