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Here’s why Elizabeth Warren just slammed Disney in a new letter

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren fired at Disney over worker wages and CEO pay packages.

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Photo of the Walt Disney Co. logo.

In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Richard Drew, Associated Press

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized the Walt Disney Company in a new letter that said Disney prioritized paying CEOs over the well-being of its workers.

  • Warren said in the letter that Disney made “shortsighted” choices to hurt the company’s capital.
  • Warren said Disney showered “its top executives with over-the-top compensation packages and salaries” and bulldozed through its stock buyback programs from 2009 to 2019.
  • “It appears that — prior to, and during the pandemic — Disney took good care of its top executives and shareholders — and is now hanging its front-line workers out to dry,” Warren wrote in the letter.

Disney said in a statement to CNN that Warren’s letter contained “inaccuracies.”

  • “We’ve unequivocally demonstrated our ability to operate responsibly with strict health and safety protocols in place at all of our theme parks worldwide, with the exception of Disneyland Resort in California,” Disney said. The company added that California “has prevented us from reopening even though we have reached agreements with unions representing the majority of our cast members that would get them back to work.”

Flashback:

Disneyannounced 28,000 layoffs at the end of September due to the coronavirus pandemic, which I wrote about for Deseret.

  • The layoffs occurred “across the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment and impacted U.S.-based employees broadly,” Disney told me in an email.

Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, sent an email to the company’s cast members that explained the layoffs. A copy of the email was later sent to Deseret.

  • “As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic.”