When the Walt Disney Company announced two weeks ago that it would cut 28,000 jobs in its parks and experiences business, it blamed the pandemic in general and the state of California, whose restrictions have kept Disneyland shut, in particular. Senator Elizabeth Warren sees the matter differently: she believes Disney’s corporate priorities may have had something to do with the layoffs.
In a letter released yesterday, Warren condemns Disney for rewarding shareholders and executives at the expense of its employees. The letter, addressed to Disney CEO Bob Chapek and executive chairman Bob Iger, asks for detailed information about the layoffs, as well as the company’s policies regarding shareholders and executive pay.
“In the years leading up to this crisis,” writes Warren, “your company prioritized the enrichment of executives and stockholders through hefty compensation packages, and billions of dollars’ worth of dividend payments and stock buybacks, all of which weakened Disney’s financial cushion and ability to retain and pay its front-line workers amid the pandemic.” Disney has called the letter “misinformed.”