Disney CEO Bob Iger said Thursday the company dealt “privately” with scandals involving two ABC hosts who wore blackface.
Iger was asked at a shareholder’s meeting in St. Louis about revelations that Jimmy Kimmel and Joy Behar have dressed in blackface in the past. Kimmel dressed as former NBA star Karl Malone for a segment on his Comedy Central show. Behar admitted on “The View” in 2016 that she dressed up as a “beautiful African woman” when she was 29 years old.
Justin Danhof, the general counsel of National Center for Public Policy Research, a shareholder activism group, asked Iger about the incidents during a Q&A at the shareholder’s meeting. He noted that ABC News personalities were highly critical of Megyn Kelly over her remarks in 2018 at NBC regarding blackface.
“However, two premier ABC hosts have their own sordid past with blackface. While on another network, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel donned blackface to mock a former professional athlete using what many would consider a racist minstrel dialect. Furthermore, ‘The View’ host Joy Behar recently had a photo emerge in which she was donning blackface at a party,” said Danhof.
Iger said he would decline comment on the matter, while saying that Kimmel and Behar were addressed “privately.”
“We don’t condone the use of blackface under any circumstances in our world today. We take into account context in all cases when we become aware of people who have been in blackface in public,” Iger said. “The specific incidents that you raised we chose to deal with privately. We did not feel that it required any particular comment, nor do we have anything to say about any actions we might have taken in that regard.”
“Bob Iger has the most powerful voice in all of Hollywood. Today that voice was as quiet as a mouse,” Danhof said in a press statement. “Since folks on ABC have been — correctly — critical of others who have donned blackface, such as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, it is hypocritical for the company to remain silent on the issue when it happens in the House of Mouse.”
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