Disney CEO Bob Iger, in a mass mailing to employees, asked his workforce to make regular contributions to the media company to fund its copyright lobbyists.
Iger told Disney workers about the company’s recent intellectual property wins — which include the rights to a strong network security system, a Supreme Court victory that bankrupted the tech company Aereo — and the need for continued alertness over copyright policies in the digital environment. A note also added the production company is hoping to lower its corporate tax rate.
Folks at Disney are, understandably, not happy with this new development.
"It just seems insensitive to folks that support the company but don't necessarily support all of its priorities," said an employee, who wished to remain anonymous. "Especially for something like TPP, which I view as particularly controversial. We do have a company position, but there's going to be a wide variety of opinion [within the company]."
The CEO said the contributions from the employees will be directly deducted from their weekly paychecks.
Employees are now asking questions about how widely the notice was circulated. Will blue-collar workers, like the people who work popcorn stands in Disney theme parks, have their salaries reduced because of this inappropriate demand?
Although Iger asserted the donations are completely voluntary and will have no bearing on a person’s performance review or job status, Disney is not exactly known for its job security or ethics.
Recently, the media company was sued by former employees who alleged that Disney replaced them with low-costing outsourced workers from India and forced them to train the people who had unfairly snatched away their jobs.
And Disney’s not the only media company that treats its employees as cash cows.
Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and Regency Media recently came under fire from their staffs who complained of not being given bathroom breaks, meal breaks, fair wages or heating during outdoor video shoots.
Although these entertainment production companies are perfectly willing to spend millions of dollars to pay celebrities and are easily able to get huge budgets sponsored by third parties, they seem short of money when it comes to paying their copyright lobbyists.