Jeffrey Katzenberg (born 1950) is a liberal progressive Hollywood executive. He was brought in alongside Michael Eisner to work for Disney, acting as his enforcer for the animation department, and was Chairman by the 1990s. During this time, he also demanded for a "feminist twist" to be inserted into the plot of the third draft for the then in-development film Beauty and the Beast, and also hired Linda Woolverton to write the film to ensure it. Similarly, he also demanded that Pixar, when making Toy Story, make it "adult, cynical, and edgy" in terms of story, which nearly destroyed Pixar as a result. After he was forced into retirement in 1994 due to infighting with Eisner, he proceeded to form his own animation company, the struggling DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Infamously, one of his earliest projects at DreamWorks, Antz, he had plagiarized from John Lasseter's A Bug's Life concept and claimed it as his own work. Like most Hollywood liberal producers (and in contradiction of their horror at the Hollywood blacklists), Katzenberg was not above using the blacklist for any people who managed to upset him in any way, which was revealed when he alongside fellow DreamWorks founder Geffen blacklisted Mel Gibson from future productions of DreamWorks simply because of the financial success of The Passion of the Christ.
Jeffrey Katzenberg donated to various Democrat politicians, including Barack Obama. He also donated $2 million to the Obama-backed Super Pac Priorities USA Action Group, explaining he wants to stop the Tea Party. There was also uncovered evidence that Katzenberg bribed Chinese officials, in particular the princeling Jiang Mianheng, to allow exclusive access to the Chinese Market for DreamWorks, and that said deal had been arranged by Barack Obama. This resulted in Katzenberg and his studio being placed under a SEC investigation. During the 2016 Presidential Elections, in a clear display of partisanship, Katzenberg publicly denied that Hillary Clinton had any health problems despite it being extremely obvious she had them, even going as far as to compare her to the Rock of Gibraltar. After Donald Trump won the election, in a further demonstration of partisanship, he wrote an open letter demanding for Hollywood to "get back in the game" and refuse to acknowledge that Donald Trump won the election.
In 1995, a year after he was fired from Disney, Katzenberg, in an off-the-record conversation, mentioned regarding Molly Ringwald that he "wouldn't recognize her of she sat on [his] face", which Ringwald revealed almost 22 years later in the midst of the Harvey Weinstein sex scandals (with Katzenberg ironically speaking out against Weinstein for his lewd acts). When confronted with this, he claimed he didn't ever say it, but then proceeded to apologize as if he did indeed say it.
Notes and references
- Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 307. ISBN 1-4516-4853-7.
- Jeffrey Katzenberg's profile on Discover the Networks