Disney Heiress Makes Documentary Criticizing Pay Gap of Disney Employees

Disney Heiress Makes Documentary Criticizing Pay Gap of Disney Employees

A Disney heiress has created a documentary criticizing the pay gap of Disney employees, focusing on wage earners, or “cast members,” at Disneyland, some of whom say they are unable to afford sufficient food on their pay.

Abigail E. Disney — granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, who co-founded the company with brother Walt Disney — co-directed the movie The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales, which is having its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

In a Sundance video, Abigail Disney talked about her personal connection to the story. “What I bring to this is a memory of who my grandfather was in the 1960s and early 70s. The kid of CEO he was, how he greeted the people who worked for him, how he understood them as partners and not cogs in a machine,” she said.

Watch below:

She said the impetus for the documentary was a worker at Disneyland who reached out to her about pay issues at the theme park in Anaheim. Many Disney theme park cast members earn slightly more than minimum wage, though it ultimately depends on their jobs.

Last year, Disney CEO Bob Chapek saw his compensation package more than double to $32.5 million from the $14.2 million he made a year earlier. Former CEO Bob Iger also saw his compensation more than double to $45.9 million.

The company recently faced a class action lawsuit filed by 25,000 Disneyland cast members demanding pay increases in accordance with local laws. A judge dismissed the suit in November.

Abigail Disney has been a public critic of the way The Walt Disney Co. is run, particularly when it comes to executive compensation.

The company defended itself in a statement sent to multiple news outlets. “The well-being and aspirations of our employees and cast will always be our top priority,” the company said, adding that compensation packages include “affordable” medical coverage.

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David Ng