During a campaign rally at the Anaheim Convention Center in California last Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took aim at one of the largest worldwide corporations. In his usual fiery yet pointed style, Sanders said:
“Anybody make a living wage working for Disney? It’s an example of what we’re talking about when we talk about a rigged economy….Disney pays its workers wages that are so low that many of them are forced to live in motels because they cannot afford a decent place to live. People are asking is it right that at Disneyland you have a CEO making $46 million while they’re paying their workers starvation wages.”
This didn’t sit well at all with House of Mouse CEO Bob Iger, who decided to privately bully Senator Sanders through a Facebook message.
“To Bernie Sanders: We created 11,000 new jobs at Disneyland in the past decade, and our company has created 18,000 in the US in the last five years. How many jobs have you created? What have you contributed to the US economy?”"
Oh, did I mention that Iger just happens to be a Hillary Clinton supporter who has made multiple donations to her campaign at $2700 a pop? And that his annual personal income from his Disney job is a whopping $46 million? And that corporate fat cats like him will be held financially accountable under a Sanders administration?
With these facts in mind, now it is crystal clear why he’s gone on the attack against Bernie Sanders.
Rather than keep it quiet, the Sanders campaign made Iger’s bullying public. So naturally many of Hillary’s rabid supporters have come to Iger’s defense, lavishing praise as if he has scored a crushing blow against the big evil socialist dragon. It must be nice to live in a self-contained bubble of complete rose-colored ignorance.
I guess Iger doesn’t get that a mere 18,000 jobs in five years’ time is NOT an impressive number to be boasting about.
Like most bullies who are full of hot air and bluster but prefer to hide in plain sight behind shills who will stupidly take the bullets, Iger launched his minions/paid spokespeople on Bernie, trying to discredit the Senator by claiming that:
“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.”
Uh, Bob, it’s me again. Oh you know, your dreaded enemy Common Sense. 11,000 jobs in a decade is still NOT an impressive number to be bragging about. Notice how there is no clarification that these jobs are permanent and for all we know, these could just be temporary jobs that have since been discontinued. The Disneyland resort may have added millions to the local economy, but for whom? Chances are the smaller businesses that struggle to survive against corporate competition didn’t benefit much, if at all, from this so-called boon.
Of course, not one person in the mainstream news media has addressed the fact that Iger, his spokespeople and Clinton supporters failed to address either of the primary complaints Bernie Sanders made against the House of Mouse; namely the noticeable lack of a livable working wage for the common people who are employed with what seems to be slave wages and the constant outsourcing of manufacturing under the belief that Americans don’t want those jobs. They’d rather have us believe that Bernie is a crackpot who has no concept of modern reality and the world we live in while they do.
This is yet another example of the increasing attitude of Us Vs Them that the rich have waged against the poor and middle class in this country, with no end in sight. Then again, what would Iger or Hillary Clinton know about the financial strife of the common American worker? They came from well off backgrounds and have only gotten richer than horse manure over the years.
Let’s do a little income math. As stated earlier, Iger’s personal income topped $46 million while the so-called “common woman” Hillary made a whopping $27.8 million from speeches and financial interests alone. Her husband Bill made a colossal $140 million in personal income last year alone. Let’s contrast that to Sanders, who in a joint tax filing with his wife Jane made a mere $200,000 in personal income last year.
Gee, I wonder why Bernie has his finger on the pulse of what is truly happening to the nation’s poor and middle class and not Hillary or any of the rich cretins who repeatedly kick us down and step on our backs in order grab more moolah from the sky.
Iger, Hillary and their ilk have zero clue what it’s like to count coins while praying that it’s enough to buy a loaf of bread or a quart of milk. Nor do they know what it’s like to find themselves so financially strapped that sometimes the choice comes down to food or maintaining shelter. They don’t know what it’s like to have to part with personal possessions just to gather together a few bucks for necessities. They likely never pounded the pavement and spent hours online in a fruitless search for job, any kind of legal job.
I imagine there will be some who will cry out that Walt Disney would be shaking his head in disbelief. Sadly, little do they know that Walt would wholeheartedly approve of the modern Disney’s treatment of their employees. Walt was fervently anti-union and believed in slave driving labor for very little reimbursement. It was not unheard of for animators at the Disney studio to work 18 hour days, especially when a feature length project was in some stage of production. Such back-breaking labor was especially hard on the women employed as inkers and painters. It was a common sight for an overworked woman to pass out on the front lawn.
History has recorded several animator strikes at the Disney studio. The worst occurred during the time period when Walt Disney left for El Salvador on the sight-seeing mission that led to the Saludos Amigos/Three Caballeros double feature. The strike exploded into a full blown riot. Walt’s brother Roy did the sensible thing and gave the strikers what they wanted: better pay and more reasonable work hours.
How did Walt take the news that his brother had settled the strike? Naturally, he was furious. He felt his employees should have just been grateful to have a job at all. Sound like a familiar excuse espoused by the corporate world today?
Richard Fleischer, who directed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for the Disney Studio in 1954, recalled in his autobiography that Walt had a penny-pinching, mean attitude towards his employees at times. He also recalled how Disney put the kibosh on a plum offer for him to direct the iconic Spencer Tracy western Bad Day at Black Rock in an attempt to keep him at the studio.
So what I’m trying to say here is very simple. The vile, often evil attitude of the Disney Company today is just corporate tradition at the House of Mouse. And it isn’t going to change any time soon.
By denying their workers a decent living wage and harassing those who dare call them out on it, Iger and his ilk have pretty much, like Walt Disney often did, told the common man and woman to drop dead. Perhaps the time has come to give them a dose of their own medicine. Tell them to drop dead, on a financial scale that is. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to spend our money on Disney product. Then maybe- just maybe- they’ll get the message that we little folk should be treated fairly.
Another step to combat this corporate terrorism is to stop supporting political candidates who are financially beholden to major corporations. The reason Bernie Sanders has struck a chord with so many in this election cycle is that he cannot be bought by the special interests. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has sold out so often to the rich and powerful that I’m surprised she doesn’t have a ‘For Sale’ sign tattooed on her forehead or posterior.