clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Actually, Abigail Disney didn't go undercover at Disneyland. Here's what really happened

Abigail Disney accepts the Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award at the 34th annual Muse Awards presented by New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in New York. The Muse Awards recognize the outstanding vision and achievement of w
Abigail Disney accepts the Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award at the 34th annual Muse Awards presented by New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in New York. The Muse Awards recognize the outstanding vision and achievement of women in film, television and digital media industries.(Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for New York Women in Film & Television/AP Images)
Diane Bondareff, Invision

SALT LAKE CITY — It turns out Abigail Disney didn’t go undercover at Disneyland.

Back in July, Disney, an heiress to the Disney fortune, told Yahoo News that she went undercover at the California theme park to observe the conditions of workers. She said she didn’t like what she saw while she was there, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

“Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, ‘I don’t know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people’s garbage,’” Disney said. “I was so livid when I came out of there because, you know, my grandfather taught me to revere these people that take your tickets, that pour your soda. Those people are much of the recipe for success.”

But it turns out that there was some missing crucial context to what happened. Multiple news organizations released editor’s notes and corrections about the news, saying that Disney never visited the park and never went undercover.

In fact, Yahoo News, which did the original interview with Disney, spoke with Disney about what happened. She corrected her story.

“In a Yahoo News interview with Abigail Disney, published July 9, we reported that she had visited Disneyland to gather information about worker conditions,” according to Yahoo News. “She subsequently told another news outlet and later confirmed to Yahoo News that in fact she had not visited the theme park but met with Disney workers at an offsite union office in Anaheim, Calif. This information was crucial context, and we regret the error. We have updated the story, video and headlines on all platforms to reflect this correction.”

Back when the interview first dropped, the Walt Disney Company released a statement refuted Abigail Disney’s comments, asking readers not to believe what she said, according to the Deseret News.

The company said it would not let her comments stand.

“This widely reported stunt is a gross and unfair exaggeration of the facts that is not only a misrepresentation, but also an insult to the thousands of employees who are part of the Disney community,” a Disney spokesman told CNN on Wednesday. “We strongly disagree with this characterization of our employees and their experience at Disney.”

“The men and women who make Disney parks such a special experience for millions of people are dedicated, hardworking and proud, and we will continue to listen to, empower and reward them,” the company said. “That’s what this company has done throughout its history and will continue to do in the future.”