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Disney heiress slams CEO pay, says 'Jesus Christ himself isn't worth 500 times' worker salaries

CNBC logo CNBC 3/7/2019 Sarah Whitten

Heiress Abigail Disney thinks corporate America is being paid too much.

The granddaughter of Roy Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Company with brother Walt Disney, said she thinks "CEOs in general are paid far too much," on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday.

Disney refused to comment on whether she thinks Disney CEO Bob Iger is paid too much. But she did say, "If you're CEO salary is at the 700, 600, 500 times your median workers pay, there is nobody on earth, Jesus Christ himself isn't worth 500 times his median workers pay."

On Monday, Iger agreed to a new compensation contract that cut his maximum potential annual pay by $13.5 million.

He was awarded $65.6 million for his performance last fiscal year, the result of a pay bump for extending his tenure at Disney through 2021 and stock awards in excess of $35 million.

This year, however, the company eliminated a $500,000 boost to his base salary, keeping it at $3 million. It also cut his potential cash bonus from $20 million to $12 million and reduced his long-term incentive pay from $25 million to $20 million, the company said in a securities filing Monday.

Disney has long been a proponent for lowering executive paychecks and taxing the rich more.

"The problem is that there's a systematic favoring of people who have accumulated an enormous amount of wealth," she said.

Disney signed on to a letter with about 200 other millionaires living in New York last month, asking lawmakers to introduce a "millionaires tax" on households earning more than $5 million to help fund affordable housing, infrastructure and other initiatives.

Disney declined to say what a fair tax would be for millionaires, but noted that there needs to be more conversations about what is fair and how to rectify the inequality between the working class and the super rich.

"I think that the top rate right now is as low as it's ever been," Disney said. "And if I'm paying a lower effective rate than my assistant is, something is fundamentally not right."


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