Disney heiress claims Disneyland employees are unhappy with working conditions: 'I was so livid'
FOX NEWS - A Disney heiress claims that she went undercover at Disneyland, and says she wasn't happy with what she saw.
In a recent interview for Yahoo's "Through Her Eyes," Abigail Disney described meeting with Disneyland employees to better understand their grievances about their work. What she saw, she claims, made her "livid."
Abigail claims that she was inspired to check on the workers' conditions after receiving a Facebook message from a distressed employee, Yahoo reports. During the interview, which describes Abigail's actions as "going undercover," she described meeting workers who claimed that they had to pretend to be happy at work while struggling to make ends meet at home.
Abigail appears to be referencing a story that surfaced in April, where she described meeting with employees at the Anaheim, Calif., park, as reported by The Washington Post. (Original reports don't make mention of Abigail going "undercover.")
"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 told Zainab Salbi, the host of Yahoo's "Through Her Eyes."
"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," she continued.
"Those people are much of the recipe for success," said Disney. "When my grandfather worked there, he hired people there to have a job for life."
Abigail Disney also called out Disney CEO Bob Iger for what she sees as a huge gap between his salary and the average Disney worker. "Bob needs to understand he's an employee, just the same as the people scrubbing gum off the sidewalk are employees," she said during the interview. "They're entitled to all the same dignity and human rights that he is."
Abigail Disney is the granddaughter of Roy Disney, older brother to Walt and co-founder of Walt Disney Productions. Abigail Disney does not have an active role in the company.
Disneyland employs an estimated 30,000 cast members and pays a starting hourly wage of $15, which is higher than the California minimum wage requirements of $12 an hour. Full-time employees are also offered low-cost health care benefits and childcare assistance, a spokesperson confirmed to Fox News.
"Disney is at the forefront of providing workforce education, which is widely recognized as the best way to create economic opportunity for employees and empower upward mobility," a spokesperson for the Walk Disney Company said in a statement. "The Disney Aspire initiative is the most comprehensive employee education program in the country, covering 100 percent of all tuition costs, books and fees so our hourly workers can pursue higher education free of charge, and graduate free of debt."
The statement adds that Disney made a commitment of $150 million to fund the Disney Aspire initiative for the first five years, with plans to continue to make future investments.
Disney also confirmed that employees have access to subsidized childcare and flexible schedules if they plan to participate in the initiative.
"American workers need meaningful change; they deserve smart policies and practical programs, like Disney Aspire, that empower them to achieve their goals and ensure they are part of the most competitive workforce in the world," the statement concludes.