Abigail Disney says she went to Disneyland to see conditions of workers: ‘I was so livid’

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Abigail Disney, heiress to the Walt Disney Company, said in a new interview that she was “livid” after going to Disneyland and witnessing worker conditions.

Disney, granddaughter of Walt Disney’s brother, Roy Disney, told the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes” that she received a Facebook message from a distraught worker at the park, leading her to investigate conditions there.

{mosads}“Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, ‘I don’t know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people’s garbage,’ ” she said. “I was so livid when I came out of there because, you know, my grandfather taught me to revere these people that take your tickets, that pour your soda.”

Disney said what she witnessed flew in the face of the workplace values she believed her grandfather and great-uncle attempted to instill.

“When my grandfather worked there, he hired people there to have a job for life,” she told the show.

Yahoo News originally reported that the Disney heiress went “undercover” at the park, though later issued an editor’s note, saying the Disney heiress did not make such a claim.

Disney does not hold any formal position within the company but has been a vocal advocate for workers’ rights and higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

“I wrote [Disney CEO] Bob Iger a very long email, and one of the things I said to him was, ‘You know, you’re a great CEO by any measure, perhaps even the greatest CEO in the country right now. You know, your legacy is that you’re a great manager,’ ” she said.

Disney told the Financial Times that Iger referred her to the company’s human resources department, which cited initiatives like its employee education funding, after which she reached out to Iger again.

“That never got an answer, so I had my answer,” she told the Financial Times.

The heiress’s comments come shortly after four more women joined a larger class-action lawsuit against the company alleging it systematically underpays female employees, according to Yahoo, claims the company has denied.

“Disney is at the forefront of providing workforce education, which is widely recognized as the best way to create economic opportunity for employees and empower upward mobility,” a spokesperson for the Walt Disney Company told The Hill in a statement.

“Our Disney Aspire initiative is the most comprehensive employee education program in the country, covering 100% of all tuition costs, books and fees so our hourly workers can pursue higher education free of charge, and graduate free of debt,” they added.

In a longer statement, a spokesperson for the company accused the Disney heiress of a “gross and unfair exaggeration of the facts,” calling it “not only a misrepresentation, but also an insult to the thousands of employees who are part of the Disney community.”

“We continually strive to enhance the employment experience of our more than 200,000 employees through a variety of benefits and programs that provide them opportunity, mobility and well-being,” the spokesperson added.

— This report was last updated at 5:53 p.m. to include additional information and reflect Yahoo’s updated story and editor’s note


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