Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders is taking on Mickey Mouse and company, blasting Disney CEO Bob Iger for taking home a seven-figure paycheck while some of his workers struggle to make ends meet.
“Does Disney CEO Bob Iger have a good explanation for why he is being compensated more than $400 million while workers at Disneyland are homeless and relying on food stamps to feed their families?” the senator from Vermont, who caucuses with the Democrats, tweeted on Friday.
Does Disney CEO Bob Iger have a good explanation for why he is being compensated more than $400 million while workers at Disneyland are homeless and relying on food stamps to feed their families?— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 13, 2018
Sanders was lashing out at Iger’s lucrative pay package, which could see him net a cool $423 million over the next few years, as long as he hits his performance goals. Meanwhile workers at Disney’s flagship theme park in Anaheim, California earn an average of $13.36 per hour – above the California minimum wage of $11 per hour, but below the $15 per hour ‘living wage’ Sanders has championed.
Disneyland employees must also adhere to a long list of rules governing everything from appearance to etiquette, but almost three quarters say that they can’t afford basic necessities every month. Two thirds report being food-insecure, almost half can’t afford proper dental care, and one in ten say they have been homeless in the last two years.
This year, Iger’s compensation will equal the total pay of just under 9,300 Disney workers, according to an Economic Roundtable report. Disney disputed the report, calling it “inaccurate and unscientific.” The report relied on anecdotal testimony from union employees, many of whom saw promised bonuses of $1,000 dollars withheld from them earlier in the year.
In a reply to Sanders via Facebook, Iger defended his fat paycheck, and reminded the socialist senator that Disney creates jobs, even if they are low-paying ones.
“To Bernie Sanders: We created 11,000 new jobs at Disneyland in the past decade and our company has created 18,000 in the U.S. in the last five years. How many jobs have you created? What have you contributed to the US economy?” he snapped back.
Sanders’ beef with Disney is ongoing. At a campaign event in Anaheim in May, he roasted Iger for paying “poverty wages” and asked the crowd does “anybody make a living wage at Disney?”
In a Facebook post a few days later, Sanders said “this isn’t what Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are supposed to be about.”
Disney is not the only company in Sanders’ sights. In June, he railed against General Electric, accusing the corporation of “destroying the moral fabric” of America by closing American factories and shipping jobs overseas – a position Sanders shares with President Donald Trump, despite sitting at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
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