CEO’s ‘insane, corrosive’ $92m payday
THE heiress to the Disney fortune has taken a swipe at her family's own company, claiming its CEO took home an "insane" bonus while other workers struggled to make ends meet.
Abigail Disney, whose grandfather Roy O. Disney co-founded The Walt Disney Company with her great uncle Walt Disney, spoke out about Disney CEO Bob Iger's salary during a discussion on "humane capitalism" hosted by the Fast Company Impact Council last week.
The 59-year-old filmmaker and activist said that in 2018, Mr Iger scored an 80 per cent raise, totalling $US65.6 million ($AU$92 million).
According to a study by Equilar, Mr Iger's pay was a staggering 1424 times more than the median Disney employee's - and Ms Disney said that gap "had a corrosive effect on society".
"I like Bob Iger. Let me be very clear: I think he's a good man. But I think he's allowing himself to go down a road that is the road everyone is going down," she said, according to Fast Company.
"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 $US10 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."
Ms Disney also claimed many low-level Disney employees struggled to afford necessities such as medicine while those at the top grew rich.
Her comments caused quite a stir, and Ms Disney later took to social media to explain she was sharing her own opinion and not speaking on behalf of her famous family.
However, her stance on CEO pay struck a nerve with the public, with many siding with her to slam excessive fat cat salaries.
"I am sure Walt Disney did not intend for CEO or COO or anyone at the top to be paid such ridiculous amounts of money! It's so sad," one Instagram user said, while another posted: "Thank you for your perspective. You so powerfully and clearly outlined the rot at the core of this country."
A Disney spokesman defended the company in a statement sent to Fast Company, claiming that: "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."
It's not the first time Ms Disney has made headlines after criticising executive pay.
Just last month she slammed the "unacceptable" wealth inequality in the US today during an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box program, arguing, "CEOs in general are paid far too much.
"If your CEO salary is at 700, 600, 500 times your median workers' pay, there is nobody on earth, Jesus Christ himself isn't worth 500 times his median workers' pay," she said at the time.
She also hit out at the tax system, which she said benefited the rich at the expense of the working class.
"The problem is that there's a systematic favouring of people who have accumulated an enormous amount of wealth," she said.