LOS ANGELES, Apr 22: Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Oliver Disney, has termed studio chairman-CEO Bob Iger earning a whopping USD 65.6 million as total compensation for last fiscal year as “insane”.
The filmmaker-philanthropist pointed out that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society”.
She was speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council.
Abigail said the Disneyland employees in Anaheim, California have experienced a reduction in benefits over time. In many cases, they are struggling to pay for essential needs like medicine, she added.
Citing Wall Street-driven norms, she said Iger is a “good man” but he is “allowing himself to go down a road that is the road everyone is going down”.
“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 per cent raise to everyone who worked at Disneyland, and still walked away with USD 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,” Abigail said.
She later took to social media to reemphasise her point in a detailed thread on Twitter.
The filmmaker-activist said the comments made by her were not her family’s stand on the compensation.
“Let me very clear. I like Bob Iger. I do not speak for my family but only for myself. 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,” Abigail wrote.
She, however, said it is not that Iger does not deserve a bonus.
“He most certainly does. He is brilliant and has led the company brilliantly. It’s nice to give a bonus to a person pulling down a salary. Everybody loves that. You know what everybody loves more than that? A raise. And if the tax cut makes a bonus possible and that tax cut is permanent doesn’t it stand to reason you could have given a raise instead?” Abigail asked.
She ended her thread with a call to action to recognise the threat of income and wealth inequality.
“Anyone who contributes to the success of a profitable company and who works full time to do so should not go hungry, should not ration insulin, and should not have to sleep in a car.”
This is not the first instance Disney has spoken out to raise the living wage and tax the wealthy.
She has urged companies to do a better job, recently appearing on CNBC stating, “I can’t sit back and accumulate wealth simply because I inherited it.” (PTI)