Disney Criticism Documentary, From The Disney Family

Three years ago, Abigail E. Disney began publicly criticizing the Walt Disney Company for its “obscene” pay inequality, with Robert A. Iger, then chief executive officer, at one end of the scale and amusement park worker. hours at the other end. The company set up by her grandfather and great-great-great-uncle has repeatedly hit back, at one point calling her assertions “an exaggeration of the gross and unfair truth.”

But Disney has refused to back down, even though the company recently agreed to a 16% increase for some theme park workers. In fact, she’s escalating her campaign — and for the first time, bringing along two of her three siblings.

The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales, a documentary directed towards activists about the pay gap between the meritorious and the unsung, will premiere on Monday as part of the Sundance Film Festival, which is being held digitally because of the pandemic. . Mrs. Disney and Kathleen Hughes directed the film; Disney’s sister, Susan Disney Lord, and an older brother, Tim, are among the executive producers. The film considers the entertainment company that bears their name as “the unfounded point of rising inequality in America”.

To paint that stark picture, Ms. Disney and Ms. Hughes profiled four Disneyland custodians who, at the time of filming (before the pandemic), were making $15 an hour. They all struggle strongly with Housing costs soar in Southern California. One said he knew Disneyland workers who had to “make a decision between medicine or food”.

The filmmakers sometimes crop up photos of Mr. Iger, who was Disney’s chief executive from 2005 to 2020, a period of staggering returns for shareholders (including Disney and other members of her family). Viewers were reminded that Disney gave him a compensation package in 2018 worth $65.6 million. Stock awards tied to acquired the assets of 20th Century Fox account for 40 percent.

Credit…Ryan Pfluger for The New York Times

Disney and her sister were then shown a flashback of their grandfather, Roy O. Disney, who founded the company in 1923 with his brother, Walt. “I can’t see him bringing home $66 million for a year’s work in the same year when at the same company, people can’t afford food,” Ms Disney said indignantly. Her sister replied, “It will never happen – it will never happened. ”

The Disney family has not been involved in the management of Disney since their father, Roy E. Disney, stepped down from the board of directors in 2003 and led a shareholder revolt that resulted in Mr. Iger’s promotion. . Roy E. Disney passed away in 2009.

The New York Times was given permission to see the film prior to its release. Disney, which was not granted early access, responded to questions about the content and tone of the film with the following statement:

“The happiness and wishes of the staff and cast will always be our top priority. We offer a comprehensive and top-notch employment package that includes competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits for our members to advance their careers and take care of their families. That starts with fair wages and top entry salaries, but also includes affordable health insurance, access to free higher education, subsidized childcare for enough employees. conditions, as well as personal and professional development paths. ”

The statement added, “We are committed to building on our substantial efforts to date.”

Recent developments at Disneyland have cut back on the film’s story. In December, unions represent 9,500 custodians, operators and valet staff ratify a new contract that raises the minimum starting wage to $18 an hour by 2023 — up from $15.45 last year, a 16 percent increase — and includes seniority-based bonuses. A spokesperson for Disneyland is almost fully operational again after more than a year of closure due to the pandemic. The Anaheim Resort employs approximately 30,000 people.

Mr. Iger has also left the company. Disney told viewers she decided to make the film because she was frustrated and angry at his “curt” reply to an email she sent him in 2018 about paying him. salaries for amusement park employees. He declined to comment for this article.

Credit…Emily Berl for The New York Times

Disney has faced allegations of discrimination and unfair treatment from former employees at one of her companies, Level Forwarding, which helps finance and produce entertainment projects with a focus on social justice. (“There is a fair amount of criticism in it,” Ms. Disney told The Hollywood Reporter last year.)

In a Zoom interview, Ms. Disney and Ms. Hughes, an Emmy-winning TV producer, said they were “encouraged” by Disneyland’s pay raise but said it wasn’t enough – it needed to be. about 24 dollars an hour”living wage. ”

“If things were different, then why would the new CEO throw away $32.5 million in a year of no profit?” Ms. Disney said. She is referring to Bob Chapek. Disney reports 2 billion dollars profit for 2021, compared with a loss of $2.8 billion in 2020. Before the pandemic, Disney was generating $10 billion in profits.

The filmmakers are still looking for a distributor. They hope to use Sundance to garner interest from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, or another Disney competitor. In addition to condemning Disney, “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales” has many complex themes, including the rise of capitalism, changing government economic policy, and inequality. racial merit.

“I want changes to the entire system – from CEOs in general and Wall Street in particular – that lead to a recognition of the dignity and humanity of every worker,” Ms. Disney said.

Miss Disney is a prominent member of Patriotic Millionairesa push group Higher taxes into businesses and individuals as rich as themselves. As she has said over the years, it’s a position that some members of her family find confusing. (It seems to include an older brother, Roy P. Disney, who supported Mr. Iger and was not involved in the “American Dream and Other Fairy Tales.”)

To make people think that the film was her last word on the subject of pay inequality at Disney and other companies, she ended her documentary with the following words: “Continued.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/23/business/media/abigail-disney-documentary.html Disney Criticism Documentary, From The Disney Family

Fry Electronics Team

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