Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger is set to throw a giant fundraiser to benefit a half dozen Democrats running for election in this year’s 2018 midterm elections, according to reports.
Iger, who heads Disney, ESPN’s parent company, is preparing for the February 22 gala which will urge supporters to donate $32,400 a person to attend, Variety reported.
The event is aimed at filling the campaign coffers of Senate Democrats such as Claire McCaskill (MO), Joe Manchin (WV), and Heidi Heitkamp (ND). The six Democrat Senators Iger hopes to boost are all running in states that Donald Trump won in 2016.
Iger is a big Democrat donor having given $25,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and over the last two years $50,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
As Disney CEO, Iger is supporting Democrats in other ways, too. The Mouse House chief was the main reason ESPN host Jemele Hill was never meaningfully punished for breaking ESPN’s ban on “front-facing” employees engaging in controversial political talk on social media.
Hill called President Donald Trump a white supremacist in one Tweet, urged a boycott of the Dallas Cowboys over owner Jerry Jones’ politics in another, and repeatedly engaged in extreme political views in interview after interview. But, despite all this ESPN refused to take any meaningful action to punish the host for breaking the company’s policies of comportment.
One of the main reasons Hill was allowed to skate on her actions is that Bob Iger personally interceded to make sure the Trump-hating host was let off the hook.
“It’s hard for me to understand what it feels like to experience racism,” Iger said about Hill at a meeting of members of the media last October. “I felt we needed to take into account what other people ESPN were feeling at this time and that resulted in us not taking action.”
Because of that, Iger insisted that Hill’s “perspective” was worthy of consideration in “context.”
“I felt we had to take context into account,” Iger added. He then exclaimed that ESPN needed to consider the fact that “there were a lot of people out there that were outraged” by Trump.
With the weight of the owning company’s CEO coming down on her side, ESPN bosses had little choice but to take no action against Hill for her continuing violations of the network’s social media rules.
Iger might also be holding the fundraiser to grease his own political wheels. The Disney CEO has been heavily courted by democrat donors and activists who want Iger to run for the Democrat nomination in 2020. Playing a big hand in helping several Democrat senators win re-election, might turn them into useful allies should Iger seek the nomination.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.