Name-Calling Gets Weird (12/2/03)

Oh my oh my oh dinosaurs, things sure are getting mighty heated down Disney way, aren't they? Sure, the situation may not be directly relevant to Mac fans right now, but given that seasoned Apple-watchers know that Disney will be buying out Apple any minute now (looks quizzically at watch, shakes it, holds it to ear, shakes it again, realizes that it's not a watch at all but a bottle cap taped to a rubber band), it's good to stay on top of any Mickey-related drama. Plus, you know, there's that whole deal with Steve Jobs running some other company called Pixar that's made a handful of little movies for Disney-- nothing you'd have heard of, probably, but we're told that some kids like them a little.

So yeah, it's at least tangentially relevant that Disney's Board of Directors is in a state of utter higgledy-piggledy right now; we're not totally up on the sitch, but apparently CEO Michael Eisner and his cronies on the Board ganged up on director Roy Disney and got him booted, ostensibly because he had "surpassed the expected retirement age established by the Board's Corporate Governance Guidelines"; the only problem is that those guidelines don't apply to management directors, which Roy is-- or was. Once Roy got the shaft, director Stan Gold resigned in protest, accusing the Board of ousting Roy for being "pointed and vocal in his criticism of Michael Eisner." Says Stan: "I cannot sit idly by as this Board continues to ignore and disenfranchise those who raise questions about the performance of management... Michael Eisner (when measured by the dismal results over the last 7 years) is not up to the challenge."

Strong stuff-- although you have to wonder just how Stan expects to get Eisner out of the driver's seat by, um, quitting. Still, the boardroom drama has clearly reached a fever pitch, certain people want Eisner gone, and if you like your speculation extra speculationy, this is your chance to concoct all sorts of fanciful scenarios that lead to His Steveness's third concurrent CEOship. (We bet he looks cute in mouse ears.) And here's a little more fuel for your crazy, crazy fire: faithful viewer David Poves notes that, according to the Drudge Report (found via MacMinute), Stan Gold "claims Eisner called him and others-- including Pixar Chairman Steve Jobs-- 'Shiite Muslims.'" Gold's interpretation of Eisner's wacky epithet? He "took that to mean that Eisner believed his critics were extreme in their views."

Now, of course, it's totally reasonable to think that the only reason that Steve got dropped into the middle of this pile of Shiite (and hey, look-- we're still PG!) is because he's been renegotiating contract terms between Disney and Pixar, but the mention in connection to the Stanley and Roy boardroom vanishing act (sans tiger mauling) invites all sorts of sly sidelong glances at Eisner's Special CEO Chair™ and whether Steve's hinder might fit in it. After all, calling someone a Shiite Muslim over contract negotiations might be a bit of a stretch, but when someone's trying to get you fired, well, it's a perfectly natural thing to do. It probably happens every day.

Of course, it may all be hogwash from the get-go; for his part, Eisner "categorically denies calling anyone a 'Shiite Muslim.'" We've been unable to find any further comment from him online, so we called his office for clarification: according to Eisner, what he actually called Steve and Stan and Roy were "Shiite mushrooms." Further incisive questioning revealed that he actually meant shiitake mushrooms, but got confused because he missed his nap that day. So as it turns out, the man's not religiously intolerant; he just doesn't like fungus.

Whatever. Hey, Steve-- what's your hat size?

SceneLink (4364)
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The above scene was taken from the 12/2/03 episode:

December 2, 2003: Things get ugly (and more than a little surreal) at Disney, as CEO Eisner allegedly calls Steve Jobs a "Shiite Muslim." Meanwhile, Apple's retail initiative puts the company on the TWICE Top 100 Consumer Electronics Retailers list, and the next big version of Windows is selling in Malaysia two years early for a buck and change...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4365: It's Good News (We Think) (12/2/03)   Perhaps you recall back when Apple first announced its intention to open its own retail stores, and a fair number of armchair CEOs (not to mention those pesky analysts) immediately proclaimed the move to be a Bad Idea(TM)...

  • 4366: Tomorrow's Junk... Today! (12/2/03)   Say, you know how Microsoft's next major version of Windows, dubbed "Longhorn," is supposed to have us Mac fans quaking in our boots? Because, you know, it's totally going to blow Panther away-- which might actually be a concern if, say, the company had ever released an operating system that was more than marginally better than "good enough" in the first place.....

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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