War in Disneyland
Walt Disney Co. chairman Michael Eisner testified Tuesday that he believed his former film boss Jeffrey Katzenberg had a dark side and acknowledged he may have referred to the reportedly 5-foot-4 Katzenberg as “the little midget.” Details of the infamous Hollywood feud between Eisner and Katzenberg surfaced during a trial over Katzenberg’s claim that Disney owes him at least $250 million in bonuses for work he did at the company before he quit in 1994.
- In an exchange that was uncharacteristic for the usually tight-lipped entertainment industry, Eisner was confronted by Katzenberg’s attorney Bert Fields on statements Eisner made to author Tony Schwartz, collaborator on Eisner’s 1998 autobiography “Work in Progress.” Asked if it were true that Eisner told Schwartz, “I think I hate the little midget” (referring to Katzenberg), Eisner warned Fields to back off. “I think you’re getting into an area that I will say is ill-advised,” Eisner told the lawyer. “I don’t think it’s productive, Mr. Fields . . . You’re going down a direction that’s not in your client’s best interest.”
- Eisner — one of the world’s most powerful media figures — didn’t say why he felt it was wrong to pursue such questions.