Annual Disney Shareholders Meeting 2018 is Much Ado About Nothing

In Houston this morning, outside the Hobby Center of the Performing Arts, demonstrators protested the poor living wages for Disney Cast Members, but inside during the 2018 annual company shareholders meeting, a decidedly different tune was sung.

The meeting was far slimmer than those of past, with CEO Bob Iger making bare announcements, a mild showcase of sizzle reels and film clips and a stunted question-and-answer round. The largest announcement seemed to weakly address those outside picketing: an offer for tuition towards full-time cast members to go to college and further their careers, $50 million offered this year and $25 million each year going forward.

Details are still scarce, and while it must be recognized as a generous offer by the profitable giant, it hardly solves the financial burden that part-time cast members currently face. Despite this, the questions round seemed to feature an eerie amount of lavished praise upon Iger, especially from cast members. Many were decidedly high up in their positions, and profusely thanked him for the tuition the company offered and how wonderful it was to work for the company. Even Iger wryly commented, “Does anybody have any questions? Seem to be getting more praise, which I don’t mind taking.”

Aside from a politically charged question about ESPN and The View (which was mostly dismissed), there was very little of even challenge towards the CEO. Although he must have welcomed it after last year’s fiery meeting, almost nothing of value was felt to have been gained. Disney certainly got the message out that their company was more profitable than ever, while those outside fighting for a better living seemed to be shafted once again.

Here’s hoping that by this time next year, we won’t be saying the same thing.

Traveling Salesman is a Columnist for the Boardwalk Times.

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