‘Pillaging and rampaging by management’: Disney heiress rips company’s $1.5 billion dividend plan

Megan Armstrong San Antonio News

Disney heiress Abigail Disney is speaking out on Twitter after news broke that the entertainment giant is still expected to pay out its $1.5 billion dividend after furloughing up to 100,000 theme park and hotel workers.

The 88-cent-per-share dividend — some $1.5 billion total — is set to be paid to investors in July. Disney’s two American parks, Disneyland and Disney World, have been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, it was reported the company was laying off tens of thousands of employees in the theme parks and hotels divisions.

“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,” Abigail Disney tweeted Tuesday, arguing that the money would be better spent paying “three months salary to front line workers” instead of “going to people who already have been collecting egregious bonuses for years.”

“I don’t have a role at the company, which is fine with me,” she continued. “I’m just a citizen who cares and I think that makes me free to say what I believe. But I am an heir. And I do carry this name with me everywhere. And I have a conscience which makes it very difficult for me to sit by when I see abuses taking place with that name attached to them. This isn’t all that hard. This isn’t all that complicated. Just give up SOME of your already ample compensation, especially this year.”

Bloomberg reports it is possible Disney will postpone the dividend although the company has not yet made an official statement.

“Look, dividends aren’t ALL bad, given the number of fixed income folks who rely on them,” she tweeted. “But still 80% of shares are owned by the wealthiest 10%. So that excuse only goes so far.”

Disney, a documentary film producer, is the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney and a frequent critic of the company’s lofty corporate compensation. In 2019, she criticized executive pay in an interview with CNBC about Disney CEO Bob Iger’s reported $35 million salary.

“There is nobody on Earth [who is] worth 500 times his median workers’ pay,” she said.

Katie Dowd is an SFGATE Senior Digital Editor. Contact: [email protected] | Twitter: @katiedowd