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Disney heiress calls out wage inequality at Walt Disney Company

Abigail Disney says Disney CEO Bob Iger makes 1,424 times as much as most of his workers.

Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Roy Disney and grandniece of Walt Disney, is calling on Walt Disney Company executives to give their bonuses to some of the company's lowest-paid employees. 

In an opinion piece for the Washington Post titled, "It’s time to call out Disney — and anyone else rich off their workers’ backs," Abigail Disney wrote how she seemed to strike a nerve with people over the weekend with a Twitter thread about the Disney company's wage inequality.

Before diving in too far, Disney pointed out that she speaks only for herself and no other members of her family. 

She explained that she "had to speak out about the naked indecency" of CEO Bob Iger's pay. Disney pointed out that Iger reportedly made more than $65 million in 2018, which she said is 1,424 times the median pay of a typical Disney employee. 

Additionally, she specifically pointed to how much the CEO makes at the Walt Disney Company has reportedly grown by 937% since 1978, while the average worker's pay has climbed only 11.2%. 

"This growth in inequality has affected every corner of American life. We are increasingly a lopsided, barbell nation, where the middle class is shrinking, a very few, very affluent people own a great deal and the majority have relatively little," Disney explained. 

Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Honoree Abigail Disney attends the International Women’s Media Foundation’s 26th Annual Courage in Journalism Awards at Cipriani's 42nd Street on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in New York.

She acknowledged that the company in 2018 gave more than 125,000 employees a $1,000 bonus, but that the $125 million used for that gesture was "dwarfed by the $3.6 billion it spent to buy shares back to drive up its stock price and thus enrich its shareholders."

Disney said she has been "quietly grumbling about this issue for some time," but was uncertain of how public she wanted to be. 

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Now she's made her feelings very clear and suggested that Walt Disney executives give up 50% of their bonuses and give it instead to the bottom 10% of the company's more than 200,000 workers. 

"For the people at the bottom, it could mean a ticket out of poverty or debt. It could offer access to decent health care or an education for a child," Disney explained.  

"It is time to call out the men and women who lead us and to draw a line in the sand about how low we are prepared to let hard-working people sink while top management takes home ever-more-outrageous sums of money," she wrote.  

According to CNN Business, the company has defended Iger's pay, which it said is "90% performance-based."

Credit: AP
In this Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 photo, guests watch a show near a statue of Walt Disney and Micky Mouse in front of the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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