On what is quickly becoming the preferred forum for public discourse, Disney CEO Bob Iger has responded — and strongly — via Facebook to comments made by Bernie Sanders in a rally held just across the street from Disneyland in Anaheim.
At the Anaheim Convention Center on Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders used Disney as a perfect example of America's "rigged economy," citing the disparity between Iger's wages and those of his employees. Sanders spoke of workers forced to live in motels due to their lack of income, and added:
“People are asking, is it right that at Disneyland, you have a CEO making $46 million while they're paying their workers starvation wages?"
Clearly Iger didn't appreciate the slam and decided to up the ante by using a private Facebook post to call out Sanders and throw a few facts of his own into the ring:
"To Bernie Sanders: We created 11,000 new jobs at Disneyland in the past decade, and our company has created 18,000 new jobs in the US in the last 5 years. How many jobs have you created? What have you contributed to the US economy?”
Disney also brought in $2.9 billion in its first quarter for 2016, so clearly it isn't quite as inactive in the US economy as Sanders suggests.
One has to wonder how many Disney employees were at the rally on Tuesday. Or whether they agree or disagree with Sanders' remarks against what is one of the largest employers in the LA area.
A representative for Disney did respond to TheWrap when approached, saying the following:
“Mr. Sanders clearly doesn’t have his facts right. The Disneyland Resort generates more than $5.7 billion annually for the local economy, and as the area’s largest employer has added more than 11,000 jobs over the last decade, a 65% increase. These numbers don’t take into account our $1 billion expansion to add a Star Wars-themed land, which will create thousands of additional jobs across multiple sectors.”
Sanders' views on wage disparity are certainly valid, but he may have chosen the wrong company — and CEO — to make an example of this time. Safe to say you can still Feel the Bern and still love Disney. After all, as a whisperer of birds, Bernie's practically a Disney princess himself.