It is no secret that The Walt Disney Company is consistently being criticized for how much it pays its employees — also known as Cast Members. Surveys conducted have shown that Cast Members frequently face food insecurity — meaning they don’t always have the ability to purchase an adequate amount of food. A startling number of Cast Members also admitted to experiencing homelessness because they don’t make enough money to afford a place to live. Couple that with the fact that Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently purchased a $12 million mansion, and a lot of people have a major problem with The House of Mouse.
One of the people who has been extremely critical of The Walt Disney Company is heiress Abigail Disney. Abigail Disney is the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, the brother of Walt Disney, who was the main force behind the opening of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Ms. Disney has not been an integral part of The Walt Disney Company for years, and does not have a large stake in the company, even though she did at one point. Ms. Disney has repeatedly said that she did nothing to earn the money brought in by her last name, so she does not feel like it is hers.
Ms. Disney has said in the past that she has tried to speak to both Bob Chapek and former Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger about the pay that Cast Members are given. However, she has said that she got nowhere with either man, and now she doesn’t have a relationship with either of them. Ms. Disney is an advocate for proper pay and frequently fights against corporate greed. She is now taking the fight to another level with the release of her new documentary, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales.
We first learned that Ms. Disney was making this documentary — which focuses primarily on Disney — back in January 2022. Now, it looks like the documentary is finished, and a trailer has been released. You can watch the trailer below.
Here is more information about the fascinating film, courtesy of the film’s website:
In this feature-length, personal essay documentary, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney grapples with America’s profound inequality crisis. The story begins in 2018, after Abigail encounters workers at the company that bears her name struggling to put food on the table. Could she, a descendent, with no role in the multinational conglomerate, use her famous last name to help pressure Disney and other American corporations to treat low-wage workers more humanely? Believing her conservative grandfather, Roy Disney, (Walt’s brother and company co-founder) would never have tolerated employee hunger at “The Happiest Place On Earth”, Abigail reexamines the story of modern American capitalism from the middle of the last century, when wealth was shared more equitably, to today, when CEO’s earn upwards of 800 times more than their average employees. What happened? What Abigail learns-about racism, corporate power, and the American Dream, is eye-opening, unexpected, and inspiring in that it begins to imagine a path to a fairer future for everyone.
Filmed over a two-year period, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales expertly weaves together Abigail’s family story and the stories of Disneyland workers; with commentary from historians, authors, and academics. The film artfully employs archive, animation, and never-before-seen Disney family movies. From the boardroom to the union hall, the film will no doubt jump-start urgently needed conversations, about how to make American capitalism work for everyone. As Abigail concludes, “it won’t be easy, but with imagination and courage it can be changed.”
Ms. Disney is an advocate against corporate greed and high corporate payouts, and even tried to get shareholders to vote against Bob Chapek’s massive paycheck. That effort did not pass and Chapek’s contract was renewed, along with an annual $20 million bonus.
The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales is set to be released in the United States on September 16. You can learn more about the film and the team behind it by clicking here.