It seems that Bernie Sanders ruffled a few Disney feathers during a speech in Anaheim, CA this past Tuesday. In all fairness, Sanders said he wasn’t “picking on” Disney. He said he was just using them as an “example” of a “rigged economy.”
His words didn’t just find an audience with the 1,500 or so in attendance though, they also made their way to Disney CEO Bob Iger. In a private Facebook post, which is evidently not so private anymore, Iger blasts Sanders by writing:
“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?”
So what could Sanders have said to cause such a reaction from Iger? Well, at the Anaheim speech in question, Sanders told his supporters:
“Here in Anaheim and the surrounding areas, Disney pays its workers wages that are so low, that many of them are forced to live in motels because they can’t afford a decent place to live. Meanwhile, Disney made a record-breaking profit of nearly 3-billion dollars last quarter.”
Sanders also went on to speak about Disney’s hiring of foreign workers by saying:
“Now on the other side of the world in Florida, in Disney World, Disney replaced 250 workers with low wage foreign workers who came in on what is called the H-1B Program…Meanwhile, the CEO of Disney made 46-and-a-half million dollars in total compensation last year. And that’s what we’re talking about, that is what we’re talking about in a rigged economy.”
While SFGate has posted a screenshot of the message from Iger to Bernie Sanders, they also report that TheWrap was told by a Disney spokesperson 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 Star Wars-themed land, which will create thousands of additional jobs across multiple sectors.”
While I’m not picking on Disney either, neither Iger’s or the spokesperson’s response mention just how much those jobs pay.
I guess we’ll have a Sanders/Disney debate soon.