Disney CEO Bob Iger made nearly $66 million last year, and a Disney family member thinks that’s “insane.”
Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of company co-founder Roy Disney, criticized Iger’s multimillion dollar pay in several tweets on Sunday. Roy Disney was Walt Disney’s brother.
“By any objective measure a pay ratio over a thousand is insane,” she said of Iger’s compensation.
Iger’s $66 million package last year was 1,424 times that of the median salary of a Disney employee, which is $46,127, according to a study from Equilar. His pay was largely boosted by long-term incentives associated with his contract extension, which was announced alongside the deal for Disney to purchase most of 21st Century Fox. This year, his compensation package is worth as much as $35 million.
“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% raise to everyone who worked at Disneyland, and still walked away with $10 million,” Disney said, according to Fast Company, at an event Thursday. She added that Iger’s level of pay has a “corrosive effect on society.”
“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,” she said at the event.
She dove deeper into her remarks Sunday in nearly two dozen tweets.
Last year, the Disney company signed a new deal with unions that would hike the minimum wage for Walt Disney World Resort workers to $15 an hour by 2021. Disneyland workers making minimum wage were bumped up to $15 an hour at the start of this year.
Even though that’s about double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, Disney questioned on Twitter why a company that is “more profitable than it’s ever been” is paying “anything so close to least the law allows at all.” The company reported a record annual profit in 2018.
“Pointing out the incongruity of pay at the top and pay at the bottom provokes a reaction because it so violates of our innate sense of fairness it is impossible not to wince,” she said.
Disney, who also complimented Iger as “brilliant,” questioned the $1,000 cash bonus that the company gave to 125,000 employees last year because of the new tax law.
“It’s nice to give a bonus to a person pulling down a salary,” Disney wrote. “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?”
While acknowledging “complicated” math, Disney proposed spreading around half of Iger’s pay and some of executives bonuses, further saying on Twitter that the company “could move significant resources down the line to more evenly share in the great success.”
She wrapped her criticism saying the company should “at least respect the dignity of those you pay.”
“If what they do is necessary to conducting your business successfully, then they deserve to be paid what they need to conduct their lives successfully. Because they are contributing something … to your success. 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,” she stated.
She has previously said CEOs are “paid far too much,” saying that “if your CEO salary is at the 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.”
Disney, the company, said in a statement Monday that it has made “historic investments” in its workers’ pay and benefits, including education initiatives that allow hourly employees the ability to earn a college or vocational degree “completely free of charge.”
The company also defended Iger’s pay, which it said is “90% performance-based.”
“He has delivered exceptional value for shareholders: Disney’s market capitalization has grown exponentially over the last decade, rising $75 billion in the last month alone, and the stock price has increased to $132 a share from $24 a share when Mr. Iger became CEO in 2005,” a Disney spokesperson told CNN Business.