The world of comic books and the world of politics collided in an unusual way this week, when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced that the CEO of Marvel Entertainment donated over a million dollars to one of Donald Trump's nonprofit organizations.
Trump made the announcement Thursday evening; having skipped the GOP debate in favour of a fundraiser in Iowa. While the event was billed as a fundraiser for veteran groups, and despite the website's promise that "100 percent of your donation will go directly to veteran's needs", the funds raised went directly to the Donald J. Trump Foundation. It's then up to the Foundation to distribute the funds to veteran's groups, though those numbers and the groups who receive the funds will likely not be made public for another two years, at which point the Foundation will have a legal obligation to do so. Basically, we just have to trust that Trump's Foundation will distribute these funds to the veteran's groups, and will have no way to know for sure until the Foundation releases the information.
There is a good reason not to trust Trump's promise that 100% of those funds will reach veterans groups. Forbes found that only one percent of the Foundation's contributions went to organizations that benefited military veterans between 2009 and 2013 (the most recent tax year available). And unlike other wealthy real estate entrepreneurs whose finances were available to Forbes for analysis, Trump also made no personal contributions to his Foundation whatsoever.
Marvel CEO, Ike Perlmutter, was praised by Trump as being "one of the great, great men of our country in terms of business and talent." For his part, Perlmutter and his wife, Laura, released a statement through a representative saying that they "are thrilled to support their friend Donald Trump in his efforts to help veterans." Laura has also donated two million dollars to Marco Rubio's campaign.
Aside from the shady way Trump went about collecting funds for veteran's groups, which could have been done in a number of ways aside form having supporters give money directly to his foundation, many comic book fans took issue with the message this sent on behalf of Marvel.
Marvel has recently increased its efforts in broadening its range of comic books to include more diverse and realistic characters, including Ms. Marvel, an American-Muslim teenager superhero, and Miles Morales, who had a Puerto Rican mother and a black father. By donating a million dollars to someone whose entire political position is essentially the opposite of the diverse push Marvel is giving its comics, it sends the messages that diversity is fine in fiction, but when it comes to reality, bigotry is best.
Needless to say, fans soon took to social media to share the news and their disappointment.https://twitter.com/peridotmatrix/status/693070823704399873 https://twitter.com/docfreeride/status/693077346396434432 https://twitter.com/Blackmudpuppy/status/693077572100448256
While some have called for a company-wide boycott, others point out that it would affect an awful lot of people, many of whom fundamentally disagree with Trump and his ideologies. What do you think, comic book fans? What's the best way to express disapproval to the CEO, while still not jeopardizing our favourite diverse characters, like Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales?