Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Roy O. Disney who co-founded the Disney empire with his brother, Walt Disney, is the heiress to a massive Disney fortune. But she’s also an outspoken activist against economic inequality. Most recently, she has upped the ante against her family’s corporation, particularly the big executives earning fat paychecks while some Disney employees struggle to make ends meet on a meager income. Money has been sore topic for Abigail Disney, but she has very recently opened up about the burdens of her own wealth. The Disney descendant has an estimated net worth of $500.0 million. But she estimates her own wealth at about a quarter of that.
Abigail Disney’s Father Was a Billionaire
Abigail Disney was born on January 24, 1960 to Patricia Ann Dailey and Roy E. Disney. Roy E. Disney’s father, Roy Oliver Disney, founded The Walt Disney Company with Abigail’s great uncle, Walt Disney.
Roy E. Disney was the longtime senior executive and one of the largest individual shareholders of the company until his death in 2009. At the time of his death, his net worth was estimated at a whopping $1.2 billion. He was also the last member of the famous family to be directly involved in the company.
According to Abigail, she and her siblings didn’t grow up living a lavish lifestyle and her parents were very humble people. When Michael Eisner came to Disney around the time Abigail was in college and raised its stock, he raised the Disney family’s net worth 10 times over, too.
Abigail says that the sudden influx of wealth changed her father. He indulged in a private jet and other luxuries she didn’t care much for.
In fact, Abigail has now become famous for her quote saying, “If I were queen of the world, I would pass a law against private jets, because they enable you to get around a certain reality.”
Also Read: Adam Sandler’s Net Worth in 2019
Abigail Disney Is a Documentary Filmmaker
Like others in her family, Abigail is a talented filmmaker who produces documentaries. Her first documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, followed the formation of a coalition of women to restore peace during the Liberian civil war.
After the success of the award-winning documentary, she collaborated with its director, Gini Reticker, to form Fork Films. The production company, of which Disney is the president and CEO, is based in New York and produces thought-provoking films.
Under the Fork Films banner, Disney produced Women, War & Peace, the highly acclaimed PBS series. She has produced several critically successful documentaries over the years.
Abigail Disney Is a Philanthropist and Activist
Disney has dedicated her life to helping the underprivileged. She launched an organization called The Daphne Foundation in 1991, with her husband, Pierre Hauser, to fund programs that tackle the causes and consequences of poverty in the five New York City burroughs.
She also launched Peace is Loud, a non-profit that advocates for peace-building efforts in conflict zones through the power of media.
But with all her global efforts in conflict zones, she’s more famous for her work back home as an activist against the wealth divide in the country. In April 2019, she slammed her famous family’s company in a series of tweets, for current Disney CEO Bob Iger’s massive salary.
Iger reportedly earned $66.0 million in 2018 and is expected to take home a $35.0-million paycheck at the end of 2019. Abigail has slammed Iger and other wealthy executives and CEOs like Jeff Bezos for their hefty salaries in comparison to other workers’ paltry wages.
Don’t Miss: Stand-Up Comedian Mike Epps’ Net Worth in 2019
“Bob needs to understand he’s an employee, just the same as the people scrubbing gum off the sidewalk are employees,” said Abigail.
In a recent interview, Abigail said she was “livid” after seeing the state of employees working at Disneyland. “Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, ‘I don’t know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people’s garbage,’” she said, adding that her grandfather, Roy O. Disney, wouldn’t stand for such treatment of Disney employees.
Abigail Has Given Away Millions of Her Own Money
Abigail’s efforts to bridge the pay divide between executives and the employees who work under them are part of preserving the work culture she says Roy and Walt Disney stood for. As such, she is one of the many ultra-wealthy Americans who signed a letter to the 2020 presidential candidates asking them to support a wealth tax on the 1%.
Though part of a family worth billions, Abigail is averse to talking about money and how wealthy she is. Analysts estimate she’s worth $500.0 million. But she told the Financial Times she’s worth a quarter of that.
“I’m roughly around $120.0 million and I have been for some time now,” she said. As for the other figures, she says, “The Internet says I have half a billion dollars and I might have something close to that if I’d been investing aggressively.”
Instead of investing and growing her wealth, Abigail chose to use her fortune for a cause. “I started giving money away in my 20s, and my parents thought that was crazy. But it was mine to give,” she recalled. Her grandfather gave Abigail and her siblings money directly to use it as they saw fit. So by 21, she was independent and giving away her money to those who needed it.
By her own estimate, she is proud to admit that she has given about $70.0 million in three decades and plans to give more.
Abigail owns a few Disney shares but has no say over operations. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop her from renouncing her share of the profits from Disney’s investment in a West Bank-based cosmetics company she believed was exploiting the natural resources of the Mediterranean region. Though legally she couldn’t refuse the profits, she instead donated them to organizations committed to preserving these resources.
Also Read: Matt LeBlanc’s Net Worth