Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter is facing heavy criticism for donating $1 million to American veterans on Thursday night for an event hosted by Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump in Des Moines, Iowa.
Following a dispute with Fox News and debate moderator Megyn Kelly, Trump skipped the final GOP debate before voting begins in Iowa, and instead held a fundraiser for veterans where he raised $6 million – much of it from fellow businessmen Perlmutter, investor Carl Icahn, and real estate developer Phil Ruffin.
Trump said at the fundraiser Perlmutter is “an unbelievable man,” who is also “one of the great, great men of our country in terms of business and talent.”
A representative for the Marvel exec and his wife Laura later told industry outlet The Hollywood Reporter: “The Perlmutters are thrilled to support their friend Donald Trump in his efforts to help veterans.”
Perlmutter’s decision to donate to veterans created an immediate backlash among critics of Trump’s campaign online, where Perlmutter has been described as a “super villain” and accused of promoting “racism” and gender inequality for supporting Trump.
In calling for a boycott of Marvel, leftwing news site Salon wrote that Perlmutter’s decision to support vets through Trump demonstrates the comic book giant actively discriminates against women and minorities. Salon writes:
Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics has become one of the most influential forces in shaping American popular culture today. Unfortunately, Marvel has refused to use this power responsibly; even as their celluloid and pulp characters rake in billions fighting fictional bogeyman, Marvel continues to actively perpetuate many of the racial and gender inequalities that thwart justice in the real world. As such, Perlmutter’s support for the Trump campaign – which has emerged as a potent vehicle for racist and sexist ideologies – cannot simply be dismissed as simply one more occasion of a right-wing plutocrat backing one of his own. On a deeper level, it demonstrates that the reactionary ideals embedded in Trumpism are also promoted in our entertainment products… and that if we are going to oppose the former, we must also recognize and take a stand against the latter.
Beyond simply endorsing Trump’s campaign, he [Perlmutter] is actively backing his efforts to punish Fox News for not capitulating to Trump’s misogynistic demand that Kelly either kowtow to his ego or not be included among the panel’s moderators. Between that and his willingness to help elect a presidential candidate whose campaign has been fueled by bigotry against Mexicans and Muslims, it’s impossible to believe that Perlmutter’s reactionary beliefs aren’t shaping the properties he plays such a major role in helping to craft.
Salon adds, “progressives have the power to compel Marvel and its business allies to change its racial and gender attitudes.”
Self-described comedian Peter Coffin called for Perlmutter to resign from Marvel following the donation to veterans:
Donald Trump isn't a non-serious issue. He's proposing fascist policy. He's courting white supremacy. Zero tolerance.@Marvel
— Peter Coffin (@petercoffin) January 29, 2016
Summary: @Marvel's CEO donated a massive amount to Donald Trump, heavily indicating racism. Stepping down is the only acceptable move.
— Peter Coffin (@petercoffin) January 29, 2016
Other Marvel fans also criticized the CEO:
Glad the entire world has learned what comics fans already knew: Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter is pure garbage
— Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) January 30, 2016
Any time Marvel cheapens women or marginalizes minority voices, it shores up a structure that leads from employees to Perlmutter to Trump.
— Andrew Wheeler (@Wheeler) January 29, 2016
one thing ike perlmutter could do is donate directly in a way that benefited older veterans that have contributed work to marvel comics
— Tom Spurgeon (@comicsreporter) January 29, 2016
If Ike Perlmutter giving $1 million to Trump isn’t proof he’s a supervillain, I don’t know what is. Can we give @Marvel TV to Feige now?
— Donna Dickens (@MildlyAmused) January 29, 2016
Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter giving Trump $1 million seems very in-line with his film's preferences for alpha males and militaristic authority
— Brett Pardy (@AntiqueiPod) January 29, 2016
oh god, now i'd have to go and watch batman vs superman bc of that idiot Isaac Perlmutter who paid 1Mil to Trump #Marvel
— Claudia P. (@deetsy) January 29, 2016
Because apparently Ike Perlmutter is a fucking idiot trying to throw away all of Marvel’s goodwill.
— S. A. Hunt (@authorsahunt) January 29, 2016
Nah but actually Perlmutter is scum fuck him for supporting a racist pig
— Mac of Steel (@Damac1214) January 29, 2016