Disney Investor Nelson Peltz Questions Kevin Feige’s Abilities And Need For BLACK PANTHER’s “All-Black Cast”

Last year, billionaire Nelson Peltz’s investment firm, Trian Partners used its $2.5 billion stake in Disney to launch a proxy fight to force his way onto the company’s board. They’d later give up that fight but are now back on the warpath. 

Peltz has been highly critical of Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox and the debt that left the House of Mouse dealing with, and is the first to point out the studio’s recent financial woes. Over the past couple of years, that’s extended to theatrical and streaming losses, with brands like Marvel and Pixar struggling to make the same impact they once did. 

Talking to the Financial Times, Peltz – who is once again campaigning for board seats and now holds a stake of around $3.5 billion – said, “Disney is stupid because I’m not trying to fire [chief executive] Bob Iger, I want to help him. We don’t fire CEOs.”

Disney doesn’t want Peltz or his followers on the board and argue that he’s failed to “[present] a single strategic idea” of how to turn things around. The insinuation seems to be that Peltz is only interested in increasing profits for investors, even if that’s to the detriment of Disney’s creative output. 

During this interview (you can follow the link above to read the whole thing), the site put Peltz’s apparent lack of ideas to him, prompting the businessman to take aim at Disney’s recent releases.

“They say we know nothing about the movie business – we don’t claim we do – but I don’t think they do, with five big losers in a row. They’ve lost first place in animation, they’ve lost first place in features. Maybe it’s time to change management in those divisions.”

So, someone who knows nothing about the movie business wants to make sweeping changes, but will that extend to firing Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige? “I’m not ready to say that, but I question his record,” Peltz says of the man who has overseen a $30 billion franchise since it launched in 2008. 

Ultimately, it seems he feels Disney (and Marvel) have gone too woke. “People go to watch a movie or a show to be entertained,” Peltz says. “They don’t go to get a message. 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?”

Those comments appear to be in relation to The Marvels and Black Panther; the latter grossed over $1 billion and earned an Oscar nomination. They very much echo Ike Perlummter’s thoughts on Marvel, the executive who allegedly stopped Kevin Feige from making movies revolving around non-white characters. 

Asked about these remarks from Peltz, a Disney spokesperson responded, “This is exactly why Nelson Peltz shouldn’t be anywhere near a creatively driven company.”