Disney Heir Rips Into Move to Protect Dividends, Bonuses

As 100K employees are furloughed
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2020 9:03 AM CDT
Disney Heir Rips Into Move to Protect Dividends, Bonuses
In this Jan. 22, 2015, file photo, visitors walk toward Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the background at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Walt Disney heir Abigail Disney isn't one known for holding her tongue. But that's exactly what she says she's been doing—until Tuesday. The granddaughter of the company's co-founder Roy Disney took to Twitter to explain she had been staying quiet "on the theory that a pandemic is no time to be calling people out on anything other than failing us in a public health sense. ... But I feel a thread coming on...." Her words appeared above a retweet of a Sunday tweet from Lisa Abramowicz pointing out that Disney is furloughing more than 100,000 employees—"even as it protects executive bonus schemes and a $1.5 billion dividend payment due in July." Disney's second tweet begins: "WHAT THE ACTUAL F***?????" The Guardian reports she observes that the dividend payout would cover 3 months of salary for the company's frontline workers.

But over the course of 25 tweets, she goes hardest on the topic of bonuses, writing "This is why I was quiet in March when executives at the company made a big pr push to call attention to the fact that they were giving up a portion of their salaries for the year. I told people to wait until we heard about the rest of the compensation package, since salary is a drop in the bucket to these guys. The real payday is in the rest of the package." More:

  • She later writes, "THIS COMPANY MUST DO BETTER. Disney faces a rough couple of years, to be sure. The challenges are existential, even. But that does not constitute permission to continue pillaging and rampaging by management. In fact, if a bonus reflects performance, we might want to claw back some of those millions given how they've managed cash."
  • Disney's recommendation: "Just give up SOME of your already ample compensation, especially this year. Give up, god forbid two or three basis points on the annual return. Analysts will shout and scream and have little temper tantrums. Who cares. You are bigger than they are. And as the biggest, most exceptional, most iconic guy in town, you could CHOOSE TO LEAD. If you do, who knows who would follow you."
  • Her final words: "BE DECENT."
(Read more Abigail Disney stories.)

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