It is no secret that Bob Chapek has really struggled since he took over as CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2020. Fans were sad to see Bob Iger pass the reins — especially since he had been so popular. Less than two months after taking over, Chapek was forced to make the decision to close the Disney Parks around the world because of COVID-19. While that was unavoidable and an undoubtedly difficult decision, Chapek has made a series of moves since then that have been increasingly unpopular with Guests.
Many Disney fans and theme park Guests believe that Chapek cares more about money and his bottom line than he does about Disney and the magic it is known to create. Chapek has been the target of Guests’ ire for things like increasing the costs of food at the Parks while cutting the portion sizes, delaying or canceling projects that were already announced, and claiming that Disney can’t provide services they used to because of costs while at the same time reporting record profits. Chapek was also slammed for the company’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. Many Cast Members felt Disney didn’t have their back, and Chapek called the bill “irrelevant.”
Despite Disney cutting costs during COVID by laying off tens of thousands of employees and holding off on bringing them back, Chapek still took home more than $32 million in 2021. That is something Abigail Disney has a BIG problem with. Abigail Disney — granddaughter of Roy and grandniece of Walt — has been incredibly critical of the company over the years. She has accused Disney of exploiting its workers and being so greedy that its Cast Members are living in their cars while the executives are buying multi-million dollar mansions.
Things have become so bad that Ms. Disney is planning to stage a shareholder battle to cut Bob Chapek’s pay. Several insiders spoke to TheWrap and shared more about what Ms. Disney was planning.
The heiress has spent the last three months quietly courting institutional investors to support a shareholder-backed salvo against Chapek at next year’s annual meeting, multiple insiders told TheWrap. The entertainment giant has been under fire for doubling Chapek’s annual compensation to $32.5 million in 2021 amid a slew of corporate fumbles that include a public legal battle with “Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson, a botched response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law and this month’s abrupt firing of TV content boss Peter Rice.
Should Abigail decide to go after the Disney CEO, it would not be the first time a member of the Disney family has fought a Disney executive. 18 years ago, Roy E. Disney — Abigail’s father and Walt’s nephew — successfully ousted Michael Eisner from his position as Chairman of the Disney Board of Directors and then, from his position as CEO. While, in most cases, a fight like this would be less-than-likely to happen, Abigail has the Disney name and, therefore, the weight behind it.
According to a report from Equilar, in 2021, Chapek made 644 times the amount as the average Disney employee. He also made about three times as much as any other CEO who runs a publicly-traded company. That massive paycheck came as Disney stock has steadily declined 40% and is currently sitting lower than it has in the past 5 years, minus the pandemic drop.
Earlier this year, Ms. Disney released a documentary that examined the lives of Disney Cast Members. The documentary was called The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales. Over the past few years, more than half of Disney Cast Members have claimed that they have been food insecure — meaning that they did not always know where their next meal would come from — and a large number even admitted to living in their car while working for The House of Mouse.