Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger’s $65.6 million paycheck last year is an “insane” amount, according to Disney heiress Abigail Disney (grandniece of Walt).
In a viral Twitter thread on Sunday, Abigail Disney said that Iger’s salary (reportedly 1,424 times more than median employee pay) is too much money going to the top.
“Let me very clear. I like Bob Iger. I do NOT speak for my family but only for myself,” began Disney. “Other than owning shares (not that many) I have no more say in what happens there than anyone else. But by any objective measure a pay ratio over a thousand is insane.”
According to HuffPost, Abigail Disney has been an outspoken advocate “on the topic of income inequality, and has said she donated the vast majority of her inheritance.” Recently, while speaking at a conference hosted by Fast Company magazine, she said that Disney employees have had a reduction in benefits and are struggling to make ends meet.
“I think he’s allowing himself to go down a road that is the road everyone is going down,” Disney said at the conference. “When he got his bonus last year, I did the math, and I figured out that he could have given personally, out of pocket, a 15% raise to everyone who worked at Disneyland, and still walked away with $10 million. So there’s a point at which there’s just too much going around the top of the system into this class of people who — I’m sorry, this is radical — have too much money. There is such a thing.”
On Friday, in response to her comments at the conference, Disney said that Iger’s unbelievably high pay stems from the company’s acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox. “Disney has made historic investments to expand the earning potential and upward mobility of our workers, implementing a starting hourly wage of $15 at Disneyland that’s double the federal minimum wage, and committing up to $150 million for a groundbreaking education initiative that gives our hourly employees the opportunity to obtain a college or vocational degree completely free of charge,” said the statement.
Over the weekend, Abigail Disney characterized the company’s statement as a disingenuous attempt to avoid addressing the problem.
“What on earth would be wrong with shifting some of the profits—the fruits of these employees‘ labor— to some folks other than those at the top?” said Abigail on Twitter. “I’m not saying iger doesn’t deserve a bonus. He most certainly does. He is brilliant and has led the company brilliantly.”
“There are just over 200K employees at Disney,” she continued. “If you took half that 65 M bonus, along with half the very generous bonuses everyone else up in the C suites got, I am quite certain you could move significant resources down the line to more evenly share in the great success.”
Bob Iger is an avid Democrat and will soon be hosting a fundraiser for his party’s 2020 senatorial candidates, which follows a fundraiser he held for mid-term candidates in 2018. Recently, he denounced the current social media age for dividing people along ideological lines.
“We have to change how we talk to each other,” Iger said. “Maybe we should just start by reconnecting with those friends and family members that we haven’t spoken to since the 2016 election.”
Iger also warned that the hate and anger Americans have for one another will drag the country into “the abyss,” adding that politics are now dominated by contempt.
“We are losing ground,” he said. “Hate and anger are dragging us towards the abyss once again, and apathy is growing … consuming our public discourse and shaping our country into something that is wholly unrecognizable. Our politics, in particular, are now dominated by contempt.”
Iger also recalled Hitler, not in the political sense, but rather in the social sense. “Hitler would have loved social media,” Iger said, noting that it is “constantly validating our convictions and amplifying our deepest fears” and “makes it far too easy to deny our shared humanity.”