- Walt Disney's grandson Brad Lund, 50, hit out at the company's executives over claims they will receive large bonuses
- The company had furloughed 100,000 workers and ended their pay after parks shuttered up because of the coronavirus pandemic
- Lund said he hoped 'all family members will join in our dismay over senior Disney management compensation levels'
- The Disney heir is in the midst of his own decade-long legal case regarding his inheritance
- A Disney spokesperson said Wednesday 'there is no truth to any speculation about bonus payments'
- On Wednesday, Walt Disney World allowed some third-party shops and restaurants to open at its entertainment complex in Disney Springs in Florida
- It is the first step in reopening since gates were closed mid-March
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Walt Disney's grandson has hit out at the company's executives over claims they will still receive large bonuses despite furloughing tens of thousands of workers during the coronavirus shutdown.
Brad Lund, who is currently in a decade-long legal battle regarding his inheritance, told The Daily Beast of his 'dismay' over the alleged compensation.
'I have already expressed my hope that the Disney organization continue to give reasonable compensation and support to its many loyal employees in the spirit of the company of which my grandfather was so proud,' the 50-year-old said.
'To me, it's the right thing to do during these difficult times—for the company, for shareholders, for its loyal employees.'
|Waly Disney's grandson Brad Lund, pictured, has said he is dismayed at 'senior Disney management compensation levels while furloughing Disney workers at this critical time'|
|Disney parks around the world remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic and the company is estimated to have lost $500million last month before staff were furloughed|
He added that he hoped 'all family members will join in our dismay over senior Disney management compensation levels while furloughing Disney workers at this critical time'.
A spokesperson for the Walt Disney Company told DailyMail.com, however, that 'there is no truth to any speculation about bonus payments.
‘The facts are that the decision to furlough was not made lightly and was one of myriad actions taken to help the company weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,' the spokesperson added.
'The company paid full salaries to workers who were unable to perform their duties for five weeks before beginning furloughs, which, unlike layoffs, allow them to remain Disney employees and receive their full health care benefits, paid for by the company.
'Furloughs occurred across a variety of our businesses, and for those employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, furloughs were agreed to by their unions.'
On Wednesday, Walt Disney World allowed some third-party shops and restaurants to open at its entertainment complex in Disney Springs in Florida.
These are the first signs of reopening since mid-March but there has been no plan yet announced to reopen theme parks and hotels at their resorts.
In April, Walt Disney Corporation stopped paying 100,000 operational employees after placing them on furlough because of the prolonged coronavirus shutdowns.
Employees would still receive health insurance from Disney but were added to the millions more filing for unemployment across the United States.
The move from the world's biggest entertainment company - which has parks in the US, France, China, Hong Kong and Japan - affected half its workforce.
The company was said to have lost $500million in March after closures.
|The company placed 100,000 workers on furlough and ended their pay as parks remained closed. Disney heirs Brad Lund and Abigail Disney have hit out at the decision|
The move angered Disney heiress Abigail Disney, however, who Lund has now come out in support of.
'I agree with my cousin Abigail's sentiments,' he said to the Daily Beast.
Shortly after the Hollywood giant announced the furloughs, Abigail launched into a fiery tirade on Twitter in which she condemned the company for continuing to pay out executive bonuses and dividends, which have totaled $1.5 billion in the past.
The heiress, 60, argued that this money could pay for three months' salary to its frontline workers now feeling the financial impact of the pandemic.
While no decision on Disney's dividend had been announced, she criticized a move to pay out in July, claiming that '80% of shares are owned by the wealthiest 10%' and the money would be received by people who have 'already been collecting egregious bonuses for years'.
|The heiress, 60, argued that this money could pay for three months' salary to its frontline workers now feeling the financial impact of the pandemic during her Twitter tirade|
The activist also commented on the announcement in March that top Disney executives were forgoing their salary considering the current crisis.
Former chief executive Bob Iger gave up the remainder of his $3million salary for this year and his replacement Bob Chapek said he'd only take half of his $2.5million base salary, as a show of solidarity.
Bonuses these executives could receive were highlighted, however, as they greatly exceed their salaries.
Executive bonus schemes are in place at the company and are believed to be worth about 900 times the average $52,000 salary. Iger got $65.6million in incentives in 2018 and $46million in 2019.
Chapek's bonus is expected to be about 300 percent of his salary. In addition, he could bring home 'not less than $15 million' in long-term incentives.
The 69-year-old is said to have raked in $47.5 million last year.
A Walt Disney spokesperson has now denied the speculation about the bonus payments, however.
'Senior leaders across the company accepted deep salary cuts, with our CEO forgoing half his salary and our executive chairman forgoing his entire salary for 2020,' the spokesperson told DailyMail.com.
'There is no truth to any speculation about bonus payments.
'Compensation for executives is closely tied to the company’s financial performance—more than 90% of total compensation for the CEO last year was performance-based—and decisions on compensation aren’t made by the Board until the end of the year.
'So it is premature and irresponsible to speculate about bonus compensation—especially in May, during a global pandemic.'
The public rebuke from Lund comes as he pushes forward with a legal case surrounding his mother's estate and claims he was pushed out of his inheritance.
In June 2019, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David J. Cowan ruled that Lund lacked the maturity and financial ability to manage his inheritance.
'Do I want to give $200 million, effectively, to someone who may suffer, on some level, from Down syndrome? The answer is no,' Judge Cown said.
The judge was requested to retract the statement as a 2016 DNA test proved Lund cannot suffer from Down Syndrome, but he refused.
Judge Cowan also refused to sign off on a multi-million-dollar settlement for all parties.
It came after a 2014 ruling in Arizona in which a judge said Lund was competent to manange the money.
His stepsisters had filed a petition in 2009 to appoint a conservator due to alleged mental incompetence. His twin sister Michelle also joined the action later, claiming that her father and stepmother had undue influence.
Disney theme parks have been shuttered since mid-March but they began to open restaurants in Disney Springs from Wednesday.
The company issued a blunt warning for visitors, saying anyone who visited the complex assumed all the risk if they fell ill with COVID-19.
'An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present,' the company said on its web site.
|Disney issued a disclaimer warning guests to Disney Springs that they assume all risk of contracting COVID-19 while at the facilities which began to open on Wednesday|
'COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable,' the warning added.
'By visiting Disney Springs, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.'
All workers and visitors over age 2 will be required to wear face masks at Disney Springs.
Workers and visitors also will have to get temperature checks and anyone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees will be denied entry.
The number of guests allowed in will be limited to encourage social distancing, and extra hand sanitizer and hand washing stations will be in place, the company said.
After negotiating with the company, the unions that represent more than half of the 77,000 employees at Disney World said last week that workers who contract COVID-19 will get paid time off while in quarantine.
Workers with virus symptoms also can stay home without being disciplined for being absent.
Workers will be given thermometers if they want them, and each worker will be given three face masks, according to the agreed-upon terms.
Disney and unions representing workers at Florida's Walt Disney World reached an agreement on safeguards to protect employees from the coronavirus, a union statement said on Thursday, removing one of the company's hurdles to reopening its popular theme parks.
The company said next week, third-party operating participants would open at Disney Springs and later this month three stores and venues owned and operated by Disney - World of Disney, D-Luxe Burger and the Marketplace Co-Op - would reopen.
'While our theme parks and resort hotels remain temporarily closed, the phased reopening of Disney Springs is a welcome milestone as we navigate through this unprecedented time together as responsibly as we can,' Disney Springs Vice President Matt Simon said in a statement.
The entertainment giant said it was implementing safety measures and operational changes such as cashless or contactless payment options, a requirement to wear 'appropriate' face covering, temperature screenings, social distancing practices, increased cleaning and disinfection procedures.
In the United States, Florida is ahead of California, home to Disneyland, in reopening businesses that were closed starting in mid-March.
Shutting theme park gates cost the company $1billion from January through March, Disney said earlier this month.
|Walt Disney Company will partially reopen Disney Springs shopping and entertainment complex on Wednesdy, May 20|
Parking and Entrances – Parking will be limited to the Orange and Lime garages. All surface parking lots will be closed.
At this time there will only be 4 entrances to Disney Springs:
Hotel Plaza Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge
Temperature Screening – All guests and Cast Members (employees) must undergo temperature screening upon arrival.
Screening locations will be the second floor level of the Orange and Lime parking garages and the Marketplace Entrance.
Guests with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be allowed entrance based on guidance from the health authorities.
The same applies for Cast Members.
Physical Barriers – In order to limit physical contact between guests and Cast Members, physical barriers have been added in certain locations. These include: cash registers, Guest Relations, etc.
Face Coverings – All Guests 3 years and older, Cast Members and other employees are required to wear face coverings at all times. The only exception is while dining.
Cashless Transactions – Cash transactions will be discouraged. Guests should use contactless payment options such as credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, Apply Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.
Cleaning and Sanitization – The Disney Springs staff has increased its cleaning and sanitization of all high-traffic areas including tables, doors, benches, handrails, escalators, restrooms and more.
There are also new handwashing stations that have been installed throughout Disney Springs that guests are encouraged to use.
Cast Training – Disney Springs staff has been trained to employ physical distancing and will continue to receive training to improve protocols.
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Walt Disney's grandson Brad Lund, 50, criticizes bonuses for executives after the company furloughed 100,000 workers during coronavirus shutdown