Walt Disney Co. heir Abigail Disney has once again slammed the company’s management—this time for its handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday the Financial Times reported that the company will stop paying more than 100,000 employees across its theme parks—nearly half its workforce—to save roughly $500 million per month. Meanwhile, however, the company has protected executive bonus schemes that, per the Times, typically amount to roughly $1.5 billion.
Abigail Disney, Walt Disney Co. co-founder Roy Disney’s granddaughter, pilloried the move in a lengthy Twitter thread Tuesday, which began with a succinct summation: “WHAT THE ACTUAL F***?????”
“Look, dividends aren't ALL bad, given the number of fixed income folks who rely on them,” Disney granted. “But still 80% of shares are owned by the wealthiest 10%. So that excuse only goes so far.”
And the real outrage, she said, was the bonuses—which could pay for three months’ salary for frontline workers, despite the fact that execs “have already been collecting egregious bonuses for years.”
This isn’t the first time Disney has railed against the company’s management. Last year she also called Bob Iger’s $65.6 million 2018 compensation package “insane.”
Disney execs’ decision will leave their workers reliant on state benefits, though it will continue providing full healthcare benefits. Walt Disney World’s home in Florida, the Times notes, offers one of the lowest unemployment benefits in the country, at $275 per week for 12 weeks.
Abigail Disney noted that she stayed quiet in March as company leadership announced it would make salary cuts; Iger has given up the remainder of his $3 million annual salary this year, while newly installed chief executive Bob Chapek will give up half his $2.5 million. “I told people to wait until we heard about the rest of the compensation package, since salary is a drop in the bucket to these guys,” Disney wrote. “The real payday is in the rest of the package,” which is taxed differently.
Disney said that Iger’s compensation will still be 900 times the median wage—and that 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.’” She also noted how hard Disney workers had to fight to raise their base pay to $15 per hour—which, she said, the company later touted as an act of generosity on its part.
And toward the end of her thread, the Disney heir quoted Chapek himself, who last month told shareholders, “Our ability to do good in the world starts with our cast members... who create magic every day. Our commitment to them will always be our top priority.”
“If even a whiff of this is sincere, none of this compensation bullshit is possible,” Disney wrote. “THIS COMPANY MUST DO BETTER. Disney faces a rough couple of years, to be sure. The challenges are existential, even. But that does not constitute permission to continue pillaging and rampaging by management. In fact, if a bonus reflects performance, we might want to claw... [b]ack some of those millions given how they've managed cash.”
A representative for Disney did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.