Ever since Warner Bros. Discovery started cutting animation content from HBO Max, unhappy animation fans have been out in full force demanding the removal of David Zaslav from his position as the company’s CEO.
This recent round of outrage against Zaslav stems from his decision to cancel several upcoming animated projects in service of his goal of cutting back on WBD’s overall expenses.
These now-shelved-from-HBO works including the films The Amazing World of Gumball: The Movie, Bye Bye Bunny: A Looney Tunes Musical, The Day The Earth Blew: A Looney Tunes Movie, Did I Do That To The Holidays: A Steve Urkel Christmas, and Driftwood, as well as the Batman: Caped Crusader and Merry Little Batman animated series.
It should be noted that while these films will no longer appear on HBO Max, they are available to be shopped around to other networks.
While a level of sadness and anger in response to a long-awaited release is standard, these particular fans took things to the next level and began blaming the loss of these animated projects to Zaslov being an alleged “racist” and “Trump supporter” – as they clearly believe anything associated with him should be an automatic social death sentence.
This belief regarding Zaslav’s political leanings originates from a tweet by Twitter user @BrotherNumpsay who on July 27th tweeted a 2017 quote from the CEO wherein he asserted, “Trump…some of his business policies could really be helpful to America…and I think that the idea of having a Republican Congress, a Republican Senate, a Republican President is a good thing because now they’re going to get some things done.”
Though many took this out-of-context quote as an admission that he supported Trump’s social views, in reality, Zaslav’s words – which was made during an interview with Fox Business‘ Neil Cavuto and not, as cited by @BrotherNumpsay, CNN – were in reference to the benefits that less regulation and a smaller government could have for the media industry.
Does the statement from a February 2017 interview automatically mean David Zaslav is a Trump supporter? His 2020 campaign donations paint a different picture.
According to campaignmoney.com, during the 2020 election cycle Zaslav donated $124,250 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee out of his total $253,250 in political donations.
His sole donation to a Republican politician, U.S. Senator from Idaho Jim Risch, amounted to a total of $5,600.
However, this small bit of truth did not stop many conspiracy theories from spreading regarding the cuts, the most popular being that Zaslav cut diverse and inclusive content because he was a Trump supporter.
“This may sound tin foil hat-ish but… David Zaslav is known to be a trump supporter, right?” wrote @torimani_. “Now that he’s CEO of HBOMax, DC, CNN and others… he’s managed to cancel Batgirl, remove Infinity Train and other “inclusive” animations from HBOMax, cancel “Reliable Sources” from CNN…”
“And now Zaslav is taking away over 200 episodes of Sesame Street, one of the most progressive public programs on TV ever,” she continued. “Very interesting. It’s almost as if there’s an agenda to remove diverse & inclusive programming to further the conservative regime.”
She concluded, “You know what Nazis did when they took over? They stifled arts programs, took over sports sectors, blocked any anti-Nazi entertainment programming. Very interesting, indeed.”
@AriNobleWrites declares “In case people aren’t aware, Zaslav is not only a Trump Supporter but has disproportionately cancelled shows by women and POC.”
“He has hired six old white men in the top executive positions upon entering the company,” he added. “Not only are his decisions terrible, they are made in bad faith.”
“Trump supporter, Clint Eastwood wannabee and all around terrible person,” said @NikkiLeeHeart. “David Zaslav, has singlehandedly destroyed the Animation legacy that Warner Bros spent almost 100 years creating. Shareholders should be terrified.”
“So a magat took over and destroyed a beloved network?” @DJRummel asked @NikkiLeeHeart in turn. “Can we please stop watching them destroy stuff and so something about it yet?”
“Oh I heard this hamfisted butcher was up his own ass but also a Trump-humper? No fucking wonder he’s so stunningly inept,” @kingsevil0000 stated. “The machine-gun fuckups are LOUD as FUCK.”
Likewise, @miss_myspace declared, “I think its really important that we know david zaslav, the guy responsible for hbomax’s downfall and removing all traces of cartoons we love, is a trump supporter who bought out warnerbros with ulterior motives”.
“Trying to be on the more positive side of things, but this is abject.” @consumeroftoons opined in response to the specific cancellation of Driftwood. “It sets a very scary precedent, that right wing Trump kool aid drinking CEOs (Yes, Zaslav is a Trump supporter) can lay off an entire crew, and cancel projects that champion diversity to “own the libs”.”
Some even directed their ire at audiences who supported of Zaslav’s recent moves.
“If you ever feel useless, remember there are people who are actively kissing the ground David Zaslav walks on just because he’s ‘anti-woke’,” said @AlexLikesToons. “If that’s all it takes for a money-hungry Hollywood elite to win your admiration, you are a sad strange little man.”
“For those who say ‘“when you go woke, you go broke’….this is what going broke actually looks like,” claimed @fakeSammyC. “A trump supporting CEO targeting women and POC-helmed projects for cancellation, in the name of ‘cutting costs.’ Zaslav sucks.”
Summarizing these talking points, @starzopawz listed, “What we know about David Zaslav”.
“He’s an evil racist white man who doesn’t care about diversity, Greedy corporate money man who only cares about money Trying to make WB to be more reality, Avoiding Taxes and Abusing them, Sick Man in general,” they wrote.