Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Roy O. Disney is someone who has carried the Disney name all her life while fighting against many who work at the company.
Abigail Disney has been vocal about how she feels toward executives of the Walt Disney Company, including Bob Iger, and the company’s practices. Back in 2019, she shared in an interview that she was “livid” after seeing worker conditions at Disneyland. She even spoke out against the company during the mass layoffs that occurred during the height of the pandemic in 2020.
Now, Abigail Disney is finding herself in the news as it relates to her own employees and how they are allegedly treated.
The Hollywood Reporter recently published a story about Level Forward, a public benefit corporation founded by Abigail Disney and Adrienne Becker. The goal of Level Forward was to reclaim Hollywood from the Harvey Weinstein era and lead it in an inclusive positive direction.
Now, THR reports that after interviewing 15 employees (past and present) “some of its own staff and contractors, particularly women of color, felt disempowered by a top-down culture, according to sources.”
Tracie Dean Ponder, who worked with Level Forward for 11 months, noted:
“The most heartbreaking part is to have a company that says, ‘I’m about equity, fairness, women, women of color,’ ” says Ponder, who is African American. “You feel like there’s hope, there’s a haven. You think you found this kind of oasis for women, and particularly those like myself, only to discover it’s all an illusion.”
Another employee who worked at LevelForward noted:
“We were all so excited to be part of something new, part of this post-Harvey Weinstein era. I thought I was brought on board to give my perspective as a woman of color in the industry, but when I shared my opinions, I was punished.”
Abigail Disney has since spoken out on the allegations, admitting to them and confirming their validity (Warning: Adult language.):
“Yeah, we f***ed up,” she says. “We’re due for this because we said things about ourselves. There’s fair criticism in there. There were missteps and miscommunications. We own the ways in which we’ve messed up. Where we’ve learned of problems, we’ve tried to course-correct.”
Ex-employees of the company even noted that they were, “being grossly underpaid, with those participating in a “creative steward program” earning $750 a month for up to 30 hours a week of work”.
However, over the past three years, Level Forward has done a lot to create Oscar-nominated Broadway shows for both women and people of color, which is a big positive for the company.
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