It was exactly one year ago that we reported on Abigail Disney’s criticisms of executive salaries at her namesake company. Yesterday, the grand-niece of Walt Disney took to Twitter to once again speak out against the company’s executives, this time for benefiting from massive bonus schemes as 100,000 workers had their pay cut due to the pandemic. While Disney’s parks, hotels, and various retail locations remain closed, executive chairman Bob Iger and CEO Bob Chapek have given up their respective $3 million and $2.5 million salaries—on its surface, that might seem like a generous gesture, but it’s a mostly empty one, given that the majority of Iger and Chapek’s income comes from bonus schemes. And this is where Abigail Disney has something to say.
According to a new report from the Financial Times, the company has placed half of its workforce on unpaid leave, while a $1.5 billion bonus dividend package remains intact and unaffected by the closures. As Disney points out in a lengthy Twitter thread, 80 percent of shares are owned by the wealthiest 10 percent at Disney, and—on a much more infuriating note—that $1.5 billion could easily pay the salaries of workers on the ground for three whole months. Disney echoed the Financial Times report in pointing out that Iger, who earned $65.6 million in 2018 and $47 million in 2019, stands to make 900 times that of the average worker, who brings in $52,000 annually. Although that’s a median number, it’s not necessarily representative of the average worker’s income—Disney adds that employees fought to have their pay increased to $15 per hour, but that the company often prevents employees from working full-time (40 hours per week), which means they cannot receive benefits like paid time off or sick leave.
Disney’s Twitter thread is equally eye-opening and frustrating, particularly in light of Iger and Chapek giving up their salaries (which actually doesn’t help the workers most affected by the closures) and patting themselves on the back—as highlighted here:
Ms. Disney went on to say, “I don’t have a role at the company, which is fine with me. I’m just a citizen who cares and I think that makes me free to say what I believe. But I am an heir. And I do carry this name with me everywhere. And I have a conscience which makes it very difficult for me to sit by when I see abuses taking place with that name attached to them. This isn’t all that hard. This isn’t all that complicated. Just give up SOME of your already ample compensation, especially this year.”