The Walt Disney Co.’s massive round of layoffs has reportedly claimed a high-profile casualty: billionaire Isaac Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment and a major backer of former President Donald Trump.
Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter sold Marvel to Disney in 2009 for $4 billion and stayed on to oversee Marvel’s consumer products division while Kevin Feige headed Marvel Studios, the division that produces blockbuster titles including The Avengers and Black Panther. On Wednesday, 80-year-old Perlmutter was shown the door and will no longer be involved with the Marvel brand, the New York Times first reported.
Disney also fired Marvel Entertainment’s co-president Rob Steffens and chief counsel John Turitzin. Dan Buckley, president of the division, will stay on and report to Feige.
Perlmutter was a major supporter of former President Trump, donating to his 2016 and 2020 campaigns. He also served as an adviser to the Trump administration on veterans affairs.
Famously wary of the news media, Perlmutter has never given an interview in his decades as a businessman or political donor.
Some reports noted that Perlmutter recently backed activist investor Nelson Peltz’s proxy battle to join the Disney board, which might have put Perlmutter on a collision course with returning CEO Bob Iger.
The firing of Perlmutter comes as Iger attempts to save Disney from a disastrous 2022 that saw the company’s stock plunge 44 percent and its profitability take a surprising hit, resulting in the firing of CEO Bob Chapek.
Disney is laying off 7,000 employees in a bid to cut costs, though the company is still splurging on content, with plans to spend around $30 billion this year, the same amount as last year.
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