Marvel's billionaire CEO Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter sounds like a character straight from the company's comic books. He rarely appears in photos. The stories about the way he once cut budgets at Marvel have become urban legends (see: the allegation that Marvel headquarters only has one bathroom per gender). He reportedly has a concealed carry permit and plays tennis.
And on Friday, we learned a little bit more about the company's enigmatic leader — namely, that he donated $1 million to Donald Trump's veterans fundraiser, which Trump held Thursday night while boycotting the Fox News GOP debate (the funds go directly to Trump's foundation and then will be distributed). "The Perlmutters are thrilled to support their friend Donald Trump in his efforts to help veterans," a Perlmutter rep told the Hollywood Reporter.
The donation has upset people, some of whom may not be completely familiar with Perlmutter's reputation. Considering how progressive and diverse Marvel's comics have become, why would the company's figurehead donate such a large amount of money — or any money, really — to someone who has built his campaign on xenophobia and Islamophobia and whose supporters resort to sexism. The move doesn't seem to align with the fact that one of Marvel's most popular comics is about a Pakistani-American Muslim teenage girl named Ms. Marvel.
But the key thing to note here is that Perlmutter doesn't speak for the creators, artists, writers, and editors who work for his company.
For one thing, his vision hasn't always matched theirs. In May, a leaked email from Perlmutter revealed his distaste for making a female superhero film; in October the company announced that the studio would be producing its first solo female superhero movie, Captain Marvel. In between, a September report stated that Perlmutter was no longer in charge of Marvel's moviemaking decisions.
And earlier this month, Sana Amanat, Marvel's director of content and character development, appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers, where she specifically talked about diversity and what Ms. Marvel would say to Donald Trump:
Perlmutter may be a fan of Donald Trump. He may be Marvel's biggest bad guy to some people. But it doesn't mean his company is following his lead.