If you follow Pirates and Princesses or our sister YouTube channel, Clownfish TV, then you know that we’ve been calling out the executive direction, decisions, and pay scales at the Walt Disney Company. In one of our last videos discussing compensation and layoffs we even asked about Abigail Disney because we were surprised she hasn’t been saying much about it lately.
Well now she has appeared and she is again calling out the behavior and direction of the Walt Disney Company.
In an interview with The Business podcast Abigail Disney calls out the huge pay gap between the “C-Suite” executives and the hourly workers. WDWNT has some of the quote posted in an article that has far more information on the interview– you can read that HERE.
Here’s some of what Abigail Disney said:
“I don’t believe that the company and the magic can survive this kind of corporate behavior, I don’t think that the brand, as solid gold as it is, will last. And it is the kind of brand that is so enormous and all-encompassing and people invest so much into it, I don’t think it will erode slowly, it will fall over like a great sequoia …….. I think the company needs to be saved from itself.”
In typical corporate fashion:
“The high, high compensation at the top tends to come as a reward for pushing down compensation at the bottom. When I try and draw a direct line between how the C-suite is paid and how the hourly workers are paid, when I try to draw a direct line between some of those things, I think they look at me like I am speaking in some kind of alien language, because to them that is the dumbest thing they have ever heard. To them, there is no relationship between what we pay a line worker or a shift worker and what we pay Bob Iger.”
Sadly this is normal for large corporations in America however Disney uses the idea of “community” and “family” in all their branding and endeavors. They want to leverage the words but clearly have no fundamental understanding of what those words mean. If you use that angle for your brand, then you should try to reflect those ideals throughout your company. Disney is a corporation first, especially after Bob Iger was brought in.
She also brings up something we here at PNP and Clownfish TV have mentioned several times. Iger is all about assimilation and not actual creation.
The company has just repurposed or bought up whatever they could instead of allowing the creative people to do what Disney has always done best. Imagination is best when it’s set free.
“He is a nice man and a great manager [Bob Iger] I have nothing personal against him, but his strategy from day one was to buy Pixar, buy Lucasfilm, he was a purchaser of creativity which added and added to the machine. It was extremely disappointing to see a person who never held a creative job in his life take over the company. It is just a business, it is the deli, they are selling salami, and they are slicing it as thin as they can possibly slice it because they are not making any more salami.”
That’s the point we have been trying to make. You can buy up all the IP you want, but at the end of the day, if you can’t do something creative with it, then you end up with what we’ve been seeing with Marvel and Star Wars. The term “Brand Fatigue” is being used a lot in regards to franchises Disney owns and they just keep trying to find new ways to leverage what they have. When they find creative people that make something special, like Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni with “The Mandalorian” they squeeze it to death to get every penny they can out of it. And ultimately they end up ruining it.
They keep making live action versions of all their popular movies. Sure they are trying to make new ones too, but they are just pushing so much out it becomes quantity over quality, and that was something an investor asked Bob Chapek about at the last Investor Call. Disney needs to watch that.
Now the media is starting to question why their stocks have risen so much, so quickly, when the parks are limited and/or shut down and they only thing they really have is Disney+ and that isn’t going to pay for itself, and operate in the hole, for quite a while yet.
You have a whistle blower situation, involving questionable accounting practices. It was being investigated by the SEC and then it suddenly disappeared.
Senator Warren was publicly calling them out about the layoffs and furloughs when executives got their salaries fully reinstated. She called them out about stock buy backs and bonuses as well. Yet their stocks keep climbing.
People are starting to look more closely at what is going on over there at the Walt Disney Company.
If they keep squeezing fans, the brand, the employees, the guests, the IP, etc. Abigail Disney is right and they could fall over.
What do you think? Comment and let us know!
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.