Abigail Disney calls out CEO Bob Iger for “insane” salary of $65 million


During a Fast Company Impact Council talk, Abigail Disney spoke out on Disney CEO Bob Iger’s massive salary, calling out income inequality among Disney employees.

Disney may be thriving as a company, but despite its monetary accomplishments, that doesn’t make it immune to its own problems internally when it comes to money. One of these problems was pointed out by Abigail Disney, Roy Disney’s granddaughter, who revealed one of her dissatisfactions with the company on Thursday.

Speaking at Fast Company’s Impact Council, Disney pointed out that CEO Bob Iger’s current compensation was “insane.” Just for the record, as Fast Company mentions, Iger’s pay rose to $65.5 million this year — an 80 percent increase from his last pay.

The pay raise is especially concerning seeing how vast the difference in income security is between those at the top and those at the bottom at Disney.

Last year, Disneyland was riddled with poor press as a result of employees speaking out about their unfair pay. The New York Times released a video reporting Disneyland employees can’t afford rent. NPR mentioned in a story that employees struggled to pay for food and shelter. And Vice News released a whammy of a headline for one of its videos, titling it: “Disneyland employees are facing homelessness working at ‘The Happiest Place On Earth.'”

It’s a shocking revelation to know that a brand so dedicated to “happy ever afters” can’t seem to make those happy endings come true for everyone.

Abigail Disney said she met with some of those Disneyland workers in Anaheim, California, to hear their stories, and she offered her own quick-fix solution to the problem:

"“When [Iger] got his bonus last year, I did the math, and I figured out that he could have given personally, out of pocket, a 15 percent 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.”"

In an era of where we’re faced with a shrinking middle class and a widening gap between the rich and the poor, Disney’s idea shouldn’t be considered so radical at a time like this. It would be one thing, perhaps, if Iger was the only example of a company’s wealth being distributed unfairly to those above. But he’s not.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has notoriously been known as a CEO whose wealth and income security severely mismatch what lower employees experience. Last week, Amazon employees in Germany, for example, protested with signs that read “they are not robots,” campaigning for better pay and better working conditions. It’s even become a sad joke that Amazon warehouse workers barely get a chance to have adequate bathroom breaks.

And while both Disney and Amazon are saying that they’ve worked toward a starting wage of $15 an hour for some employees — which is twice the minimum federal wage, as both note — it’s still important to note that “minimum wage” no longer necessarily means a “living wage.” With the cost of living on the rise, the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living standards today in the way it has in previous decades. So while $15 an hour may sound generous, for some people and families, it still may not be enough to meet growing food, housing and other costs.

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All in all, Abigail Disney is certainly on to something — as the reports of Disney’s compensation from the top to the bottom show it is unequally and unfairly distributed. With the Fox acquisition complete and Disney+ coming along, there’s still a lot of success for Disney to be had. But, without fairly compensated workers, how much is that success really worth?