The film follows four Disneyland custodians who struggle to make ends meet in the expensive city of Anaheim, California.

NEW YORK — Abigail E. Disney has previously criticized the company that bears her name. But for the first time, Disney, the granddaughter of co-founder Roy O. Disney, set her sights on the medium on which the Mouse House was built: the movies.

In a new documentary “The American Dream and Other Tales” Disney claims that Walt Disney Co. lost her moral compass. As one of the company’s most famous and outspoken critics—one who comes from the Disney family—Disney paints an unflattering portrait of the company, particularly regarding pay inequality and the difficulty some theme park workers struggle to support their families on minimum wage. pay

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“They went the way of most other companies in this country. They started with a bigger picture of themselves, Disney said in an interview. – Walt Disney Co. was the best. She was kinder, softer. It was a human company.

“We’ve lost the plot,” Disney said.

“The American Dream,” which is playing in select theaters and debuts on video on demand Friday, is directed by Disney, an activist and filmmaker, and directed by Kathleen Hughes. It was made after a series of tweets. from Disney in 2019, in which she criticized then-Disney CEO Bob Iger for compensation that topped $65 million in 2018. Disney siblings Susan Disney Lord and Tim Disney are also executive producing the film, which was removed without any interaction from the company.

“Nobody contacted me. I was a little confused by that, to be honest,” Disney said. “I’m happy to talk if they want to. I root for them. I love this company. It’s a love letter to the company. But when you really, really love something and you see it going off the rails, you can’t stay silent.”

The film follows four Disneyland custodians who struggle to make ends meet on $15 an hour in the expensive city of Anaheim, California. The growing pay gap between executives and lower-level workers is a problem that Disney knows goes far beyond the company its film is concerned with. At one point in the film, she describes her hope for change as “a little bit Disney.

“I know people think I’m just living here in an abstract land,” Disney said. “But abstractions matter a lot, and the feeling has to change.”

The wages of some Disney employees have changed. Unions representing 9,500 workers at Disneyland averted a strike by ratifying a contract that raised wages from $15.45 an hour to $18 an hour. The union representing hotel workers in Anaheim also recently reached an agreement on $23.50 an hour. (Anaheim’s $23.50 living wage ordinance was previously ruled inapplicable to Disneyland.)

In response to The American Dream, a Disney spokesperson responded with a statement.

“Our amazing cast members, storytellers and staff are the heart and soul of Disney, and their well-being is our top priority. We work hard to ensure our team are supported in a way that allows them to grow their careers, take care of their families and thrive at work – which is why so many people choose to spend their entire careers with us.”

The spokesperson also cited health insurance, access to free higher education and subsidized childcare as employee benefits. “We are committed to building on these successful programs by identifying new ways to support our members and communities around the world,” the spokesperson said.

When Roy E. Disney, who founded the company with his brother Walt in 1923, stepped down from the board in 2003, the family ceased to be involved in running the company. Since Abigail Disney made her documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Iger has been replaced by Bob Chapek, who previously ran the company’s parks. during that period prices in the company’s theme parks have risen sharply — another point of contention for Disney.

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea for Disneyland to become a luxury vacation that most Americans can’t access,” she said. “I don’t know how much longer the brand can take.”

Disney, however, was encouraged workers protesting Chapek’s response to the Florida legislation which critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. For Disney, the situation reflected the corporation’s struggle to maintain its role as a moral authority in such politically polar times.

“There is no such thing as not having a position on this issue,” she said. “There is no neutral ground. Pretending you can stand on a moving train is a terrible mistake.”

After all, Disney increasingly doesn’t recognize a company that has been a family business for most of its life. Making a film about her disagreement, she said, was “very uncomfortable.” But she did not give up on the happy ending.

“I really want to do well,” says Disney. “Many things can be said about me, but I speak well.”