NEW YORK – An heir to the Walt Disney fortune is calling out the entertainment company for paying its executives millions of dollars while furloughing more than 100,000 low-wage workers.
Financial Times reports these pay cuts will save Disney up to $500 million per month.
Abigail Disney went on a Twitter tirade on Tuesday, slamming the company for its decision to reportedly protect executive bonuses and over $1.5 billion in dividends.
OK, I've been holding my tongue on the theory that a pandemic is no time to be calling people out on anything other than failing us in a public health sense. I thought it might be a moment for peace and reconciliation. But I feel a thread coming on....1/ https://t.co/G1mUq7RmAV
— Abigail Disney (@abigaildisney) April 21, 2020
“WHAT THE ACTUAL F***?????,” she tweeted. “Look, dividends aren't ALL bad, given the number of fixed income folks who rely on them. But still 80% of shares are owned by the wealthiest 10%. So that excuse only goes so far. But the REAL outrage is, of course, those bonuses… all 1.5 billion of them. 1.5 BILLION.”
Disney, an Emmy-winning filmmaker and granddaughter of the company’s co-founder Roy Disney, argued that the money could go a long way in helping low-wage workers.
“That'd pay for three months salary to front line workers,” she tweeted. “And it’s going to people who have already been collecting egregious bonuses for years.”
Earlier this year, it was announced that executive chairman Bob Iger would forgo his entire salary and the recently named CEO, Bob Chapek, would take a 50 percent pay cut to his base salary amid the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the outspoken heir tweeted that salaries are just “a drop in the bucket to these guys” and the real payday is in the rest of their compensation packages.
“By design because it is taxed differently,” Disney tweeted. “Shareholders have twice voted to rebuff the outrageous pay, so it's not just that common decency is being flouted here. It’s the will of their allegedly all-important ‘owners.’”
Disney says Iger and Chapek's compensations will be far and above larger than the company’s low-wage workers.
“So Iger's compensation for THIS YEAR will amount to 1,500x their pay. Chapek's, if he gets the full amount, is 300% of his 3 million base pay, or $9MM. 288x the front liners' and 173x his median workers pay, plus another 15MM over the long term. What kind of person is comfortable with this???” asked Disney.
Disney says the company must do better.
“Disney faces a rough couple of years, to be sure,” Disney tweeted. "The challenges are existential, even. But that does not constitute permission to continue pillaging and rampaging by management.”
Disney says no one could have foreseen this crisis, but “anyone” could have anticipated some crisis.
“That's one of the things responsible managers do,” wrote Disney. “And good, solid, competent management is why they get the 'big bucks' we are told.”