Disney CEO Bob Iger is doing what he can to make it right.
The company made headlines last week after it demanded that Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif., pay a $250 licensing fee for screening the live-action, 2019 version of The Lion King at a charity event.
Iger responded Thursday on social media that he’d like to join with those who have donated to the school in the wake of the story. He also apologized to the school, where the Emerson Dads Club showed the film — for an optional $15 entrance fee — last fall to support the PTA.
Our company @WaltDisneyCo apologizes to the Emerson Elementary School PTA and I will personally donate to their fund raising initiative.— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) February 6, 2020
According to the local Berkeleyside website — the first news organization to report on the story — Disney’s licensing company originally sent a letter to the school’s principal and its parent-teacher association on Jan. 30. The letter said the school had violated copyright law and needed to pay a $250 fine.
After that, people from nearly every state donated to the school, Lori Droste, a member of the Berkeley City Council and parent of an Emerson student, told the website.
The school reportedly received an email with the good news on Wednesday night: “Disney has instructed us to not pursue the fee for this situation,” the message from Swank Motion Pictures read. “While we, and the Studios we represent, take unauthorized works seriously, we understand that this situation, done in error, was not a malicious act.”
Thanks everyone for your support. Now please (especially if you live in California) donate to your neighborhood school’s PTA. All schools need help. https://t.co/U8HuPZtBo4— Lori Droste (@loridroste) February 6, 2020
The Berkeley United School District said in a statement to Yahoo Entertainment: “School funding is a growing challenge in California, as state funding cannot keep pace with the increasing expenses school districts across the state are experiencing. Elementary school PTAs in Berkeley, and throughout the state, hold small fundraising events to contribute additional revenue to their school budget. Emerson Elementary School’s PTA has seen an increase in donations since this story broke. We’ve had calls regarding donating to the school from all across the country, including from parents, educators, retired folks, CEOs, and celebrities.”
It noted that schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area spending this week “participating in advocacy efforts for full and fair funding for California Schools,” as part of the Fund Education Now campaign.
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