Until 2019, most people had not heard of documentary filmmaker Abigail Disney, the grandniece of Walt Disney and granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, co-founder of the The Walt Disney Company. But in April of that year, a series of tweets and a piece in The Washington Post put her in the spotlight.
In her tweets, she called out CEO Bob Iger's "insane" $65.6 million salary and shed light on the company's pay inequality.
Disney continues to demand change in her documentary The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales which premiered at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. In the documentary, employees of the company reveal unsettling details of their compensation.
According to Disney, she was made aware of the inequitable pay through a message from an employee.
See the trailer for the documentary below.
\u201cIn #AmericanDreamDoc, @AbigailDisney grapples with America's profound inequality crisis, exploring systemic injustices through her family's story.\n\nThe movie Disney does not want you to see. \n\n\ud83c\udf7f\ud83c\udfac In theaters + on demand now! https://t.co/ObvnYi4uw1\u201d— The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales (@The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales) 1663948181
In the trailer, Disney opened with:
"Disneyland was not like anywhere else on Earth. When I started working at the park, the employees were so happy to be there."
"The company appreciated you. At least it did."
"Having the last name Disney is like having a weird superpower you didn't ask for, but then one day I got a message from a guy named Ralph who worked at Disneyland."
The video then cut to a room full of Disneyland employees being interviewed by Disney.
She asked the group:
"How many of you know someone who works at Disney that slept in their car in the last couple of years?"
Every hand in the room went up.
"How many of you know somebody who has gone without medical care because they can't afford it?"
Again, all participants raised their hands.
As the trailer went on, words flashed across the screen.
"This is the film Disney does not want you to see."
"The American Dream teaches us that if you wok had enough, anything is possible."
"It's magical thinking."
She continued by putting the disparity between corporate and park employees into perspective.
"A custodian would have to work for 2,000 years to make what Bob Iger makes in only one."
The trailer also included employees' personal experiences and struggles to make ends meet, some speaking of life plans put on hold until they were completely unattainable.
One man shared about he and his wife:
"We're the people who do the pixie dust at night. We scrub the kitchens, the floor, and the toilets."
"With both of us working full time, we still fall below poverty level."
Disney then asked the man what he would tell the Disney company if he could say anything, and the man replied:
"We'd like to be able to have a home."
Many responses to the trailer thanked Disney for her commitment to change pay inequity.
I saw American Dream yesterday at the Enzian. Thank you so much for making this documentary. I thoroughly enjoyed. It made me angry and sad at times. But in the end, you show that there is hope. The 3 families you profiled were very brave to share their stories. I am so grateful.
— raymond laliberte (@RaymondLalibert) September 18, 2022
Couldn't be better timing. America needs to decide on its next myth to chase - and really chase it.
As an optimist, I think we can have the American Dream wide awake - but of course, it may take a cold shower or two.
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) September 16, 2022
I look forward to watching! Thank you for being a humble voice for those without.
— Social_AMMO (@SocialAmmo) September 16, 2022
You deserve every percentage point. Thank you for your willingness to go against the tide to deliver this message into the ether. You are shedding a light in areas where I cannot see. I now can see a path forward. Thank you!
— Duayne Gordon (@DuayneGordon) September 23, 2022
The trailer just made me cry. What kind of a person doesn’t want hard working people to have a home and food on the table?
— Maggie (@MaggieNorthman) September 16, 2022
Disney hopes to advocate for all workers who are victims of pay disparity.
"This isn't just a Disney story. It's the story of nearly half of American workers who can't make ends meet."
The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales is currently playing in limited theatrical release and premiered September 23 on VOD.