Biting the hands you feed: Disney’s $5 million slap in the face

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France suffered damage to its roof and spire as well as water damage to the inside of the cathedral after a recent fire during some renovations. There was an outpouring of love, support and money that came along with this mishap. Donations came in from everywhere; however the most substantial donations came from many big name companies and billionaires.

The most controversial donation, however, comes from The Walt Disney Company. The Walt Disney Company pledged to donate five million dollars to help rebuild the damaged parts of Notre Dame. Although this is an admirable gesture, it is very misguided. Disney should not donate this money when they could instead use it to better the lives of their employees.

It is no secret that Disney does not pay their employees a livable wage. Just last year Disney agreed to raise the minimum wage for their employees from $11 to $15 an hour. Before this pay increase many employees could not provide for themselves or their families and some employees could not afford to pay rent so they lived out of their cars. There was even a Disney California Adventures employee who, before her death of a heart attack, lived in her car because she could not afford adequate housing on her minimal salary.

The donation to the reconstruction of Notre Dame is a slap in the face to all hardworking Disney employees. They had to fight hard to get a $4 raise, yet the company they work for is willing to give that money away to a cause that is already attracting significant contributions. It is Disney’s responsibility to take care of the people that are the lifeblood and driving engine of the company.

Disney does have significant ties to France, and the donation could just be something that comes from the kindness of their hearts. The company has produced multiple films set in France, as well as the opening first European Disney Park in Paris. It’s very likely that this donation is simply a gesture of caring and empathy towards the French people and culture which has inspired many a Disney work.

However, if Disney has money to give they should be giving it to the people who work day in and day out to keep the company running and put smiles on their guests’ faces. If The Walt Disney Company is going to pay to get anything fixed, it should be their employees’ financial situations.

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