On Thursday, 11th April 2019, Disney CEO Bob Iger called upon US politicians to reject hate in the run-up to the 2020 election.
The CEO made some shocking statements while accepting a humanitarian award at a dinner organised by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. It is a Jewish human rights organisation named after a Holocaust survivor.
He criticised social media platforms for allowing hate to spread. He said they enable the distribution of misinformation and the propagation of “vile ideology.” Social media amplifies “our deepest fears,” according to Iger, while also “constantly validating our convictions.”
He claimed that Adolf Hitler would have “loved social media” as a tool to spread extremist propaganda. Iger said,
“Hitler would have loved social media. It’s the most powerful marketing tool an extremist could ever hope for.
“At its worst, social media allows evil to prey on troubled minds and lost souls.
“It creates a false sense that everyone shares the same opinion. Social media allows evil to prey on troubled minds and lost souls. And we all know that social news feeds can contain more fiction than fact, propagating vile ideologies that have no place in a civil society that values human life.
“Hate and anger are dragging us toward an abyss. Our politics, in particular, are now dominated by contempt.”
With a fierce campaign for the 2020 US presidential election expected in the coming months, Iger also stressed that it is “possible to argue policy without attacking people.” He said, “I want to hear a pitch that isn’t grounded in contempt of others. I want to see a vision big enough to include everyone.”
His comments come at a time when Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and Instagram face backlash for allowing hateful ideologies to spread around the world. They are reportedly not doing enough to stop dangerous conspiracy theorists from gaming their algorithms.
“We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, or violence. You have no place on our platforms,” Cook said.
Iger also used his time onstage to ask people in the room to “once again renounce and reject hate in all forms.”