Another heir of Walt Disney is publicly expressing disgust with the company his grandfather founded for furloughing thousands of workers while continuing to pay its executives millions of dollars and massive bonuses.
Brad Lund, a grandson of Disney, said in interview with the Daily Beast that “all family members will join in our dismay” regarding the Walt Disney Co.’s outsize payment to executives during the furlough period.
“I have already expressed my hope that the Disney organization continues to give reasonable compensation and support to its many loyal employees in the spirit of the company of which my grandfather was so proud,” he told the Daily Beast. He added that it’s the “right thing to do during these difficult times.”
Lund is currently embroiled in a decade-long legal battle over his inheritance with trustees of his mother’s estate.
A spokesperson for The Walt Disney Company said in a statement that furloughs were not a decision it “made lightly and was one of myriad actions taken to help the company weather the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The company said there was “no truth to any speculation about bonus payments” and that it’s “premature and irresponsible to speculate about bonus compensation—especially in May.”
Lund is the second high-profile person connected with the Disney family to publicly slam the entertainment company over its treatment of workers. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Walt Disney’s brother, Roy Disney, responded to news of the company’s furloughs in April, tweeting: “WHAT THE ACTUAL F***?????”
She slammed Disney’s decision to lay off theme park employees after the company paid dividends to shareholders and gave executives bonuses. Disney said in an earnings call earlier this month that it would not pay shareholders its July dividend. Also, the company’s top executives took substantial pay cuts because of Covid-19.
The Walt Disney Co. announced in April it was furloughing employees “whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time.” The coronavirus pandemic has forced a major pillar of Disney’s businesses to suspend operations, including its parks, resorts and entertainment productions. More than 75% of the company’s 223,000 employees work for the Parks and Products division.
Abigail Disney previously called former Disney CEO Bob Iger salary’s “insane.” Last year, Iger made $47,525,560, which was 911 times the median worker’s pay. He stepped down as CEO in February and was replaced by Bob Chapek, but remains Disney’s chairman.
Abigail Disney doesn’t have a role within the company. She has previously blasted worker conditions at Disneyland and its pay.