I don't know how well-paid Disney execs sleep at night: Abigail Disney

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large

Abigail Disney still has a major bone to pick with executives at Disney (DIS) for their sweet compensation packages.

And now the activist, Emmy-award winning filmmaker and granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney is more outraged on their pay in light of the situation with park workers and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So as I said before, the communication lines are not warm and open there. I will say that I don’t know how a person sleeps at night given what we know to be — and they know perfectly well — to be the condition of their workers and the insecurity they’re living in now. Two of the three people I have been talking to in Anaheim [park] have asthma and they seriously don’t have any idea how they’re going to address this decision even if they get offered their position back. So I have to say preserving your bonus, as they did, was unconscionable. There’s just no making sense of it, as far as I am concerned,” Disney said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

A Disney spokesman didn’t return Yahoo Finance’s request for comment.

While Disney has no operating role with her grandfather’s business, that hasn’t stopped the heir from taking the company’s execs to task for not paying workers more — especially given their outsized pay. Recall it was one year ago on July 15, 2019 that Disney appeared on sister publication Yahoo News to slam now former CEO Bob Iger’s enormous pay.

The decision Disney refers to came down in mid-April with the company’s business getting drilled by the pandemic.

Disney said it would furlough 100,000 theme park and hotel workers, thrusting them onto unemployment rolls. The Financial Times reported the move could save Disney $500 million a month. It’s unclear when all those workers will return — while Disney’s theme parks have reopened, they remain at reduced traffic levels due to the pandemic. Further, there is no guarantee the parks stay open with COVID-19 infections climbing again in key areas for Disney such as Florida and California. Disney has already been forced to re-close its theme park in Hong Kong.

Employees wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, welcome visitors at the Hong Kong Disneyland on Thursday, June 18, 2020. Hong Kong Disneyland on Thursday opened its doors to visitors for the first time in nearly five months, at a reduced capacity and with social distancing measures in place. The theme park closed temporarily at the end of January due to the coronavirus outbreak, and is the second Disney-themed park to re-open worldwide, after Shanghai Disneyland. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Employees wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, welcome visitors at the Hong Kong Disneyland on Thursday, June 18, 2020. Hong Kong Disneyland on Thursday opened its doors to visitors for the first time in nearly five months, at a reduced capacity and with social distancing measures in place. The theme park closed temporarily at the end of January due to the coronavirus outbreak, and is the second Disney-themed park to re-open worldwide, after Shanghai Disneyland. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

While Disney furloughed park and hotel workers, compensation for top execs has remained high even after self-imposed pandemic pay cuts. Chairman and former CEO Bob Iger said he would forgo his entire $3 million salary this year. Last year he earned $44.5 million in total compensation. New Disney CEO Bob Chapek had his $2.5 million salary cut in half. But his annual target bonus of $7.5 million and long-term incentive plan of $15 million stayed intact.

The Hollywood Reporter reported other execs were unhappy with pay cuts of 20%. A typical vice president at Disney earns between $150,00 to $200,000 in annual base salary. An executive vice president could haul in $700,000, THR reports.

A standard Disney vice president earns between $150,000 and $200,000 in annual base pay while an executive vice president can earn upwards of $700,000 per year depending on the department.

A typical Disneyland park worker makes about $11 an hour — that will move to $15 an hour in 2021 following a union agreement struck in 2018.

“It is strange to me they would get into this situation by opening up this massive enterprise — for which people fly from everywhere in the world to go. So I am incredibly concerned about the implications of what is going to happen. I can’t imagine they’re able to protect their employees and all of their customers,” Disney adds.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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