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Calif. Elementary School Gets Apology From Disney's CEO

It was told by a licensing company it had to pay up for illegally screening 'The Lion King'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2020 8:26 AM CST
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FILE - In this April 3, 2019, file photo, Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, discusses the upcoming live-action film "The Lion King" during the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2019 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The Walt Disney Co....   (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – A California elementary school was on the receiving end of an unusual apology on Thursday: from Disney CEO Bob Iger. Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley found itself the subject of national news earlier this week when it emerged that it was informed it would have to pay $250 for illegally screening the 2019 version of The Lion King at a November fundraiser. That directive came from licensing company Movie Licensing USA, which said it "received an alert" about the screening and noted the school had no license to show it, which is required for any showing that occurs outside one's home.

The email came a full two months after the parents' night out fundraiser, which raised $800, and PTA president David Rose told CNN they were simply showing a film that "one of the dads bought ... at Best Buy. He owned it. We literally had no idea we were breaking any rules." The Disney honcho had this to say in a tweet: "Our company @WaltDisneyCo apologizes to the Emerson Elementary School PTA and I will personally donate to their fund raising initiative." But the Verge points out there's still one big question mark: How did Movie Licensing USA learn about the screening in the first place? (Read more Robert Iger stories.)

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