• Disney is one of the largest multi-media companies in the world and is involved in television, film, radio stations and the internet.
• Disney also operates theme parks and hotels and manufactures clothing and accessories products, and has been frequently accused of sourcing from sweatshop labor worldwide.
• From 2001-2003 Disney paid zero federal taxes, received $59 million in tax rebates, and recorded $1.76 billion in profits.
• Disney uses its political influence to maintain consolidated control of media outlets.
• Visit Go Green and get involved with FreePress.net and the National Labor Committee to tell Disney to use its financial and media power to catalyze a more sustainable and equitable economy.
-- Profile Updated 04/25/2011
The Walt Disney Company operates theme parks and hotels and is an entertainment conglomerate involved in television, film, radio stations and the internet. The company also manufactures clothing and accessories products related to its entertainment endeavors. Headquartered in Burbank, California, Disney employed 133,000 people and reported $34.3 billion in sales for 2006.
Disney Go Green Campaign
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) found that Walt Disney World uses more than 80 extremely toxic cleaners, as opposed to just 12 that are non-toxic and which are used in the animal park out of safety concerns for the animals. According to CHEJ, children visiting the park "bathe, eat and play." CHEJ and community groups in Florida are urging Disney to use safer cleaning products for the sake of the children.
Clean Clothes Campaign
The Clean Clothes Campaign is an international campaign that aims to improve working conditions and to empower workers in the global garment industry, in order to end the oppression, exploitation and abuse of workers in this industry, most of whom are women.
Stop Big Media
The non-profit, non-partisan group Free Press sponsors various public campaigns to fight concentrated big media ownership. Fox owner News Corp. is the sixth largest media conglomerate, with programming that enters at least 40% of all American homes. Free Press asks citizens to take action against a complete media takeover by giants News Corp. (Fox), Time Warner, GE, Vivendi Universal, Viacom and Disney by opposing the FCC’s lax enforcement of media ownership rules.
A&E Television Networks (Branch) - New York, NY
- ABC 7/KGO-TV - San Francisco, CA
- ABC Broadcast Group - New York, NY
ABC Broadcast Group - New York, NY
- ABC Cable Network - Burbank, CA
- ABC Family - Virginia Beach, VA
- ABC Family Channel - Los Angeles, CA
- ABC Family, Inc. - Burbank, CA
- ABC National Television Sales, Inc. - New York, NY
- ABC News & Sports - New York, NY
- ABC News Holding Company, Inc. - New York, NY
- ABC News Intercontinental, Inc. - New York, NY
- ABC News, Inc. - New York, NY
- ABC Owned Television Stations - Philadelphia, PA
- ABC Radio Inc. - New York, NY
- ABC Radio Network, Inc. - New York, NY
- ABC Sports, Inc. - New York, NY
- ABC Television Network - New York, NY
- ABC Television Network Group - New York, NY
- ABC, Inc. (Subsidiary) - New York, NY
- ABC, Inc. - Burbank, CA
- American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. - New York, NY
- B.A.S.S. Times - Montgomery, AL
- B.A.S.S., Inc. (Subsidiary) - Montgomery, AL
- Bassmaster Magazine - Montgomery, AL
- Biography Magazine - New York, NY
- Broadcast Operations & Engineering - New York, NY
- Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. - Burbank, CA
- Buena Vista Non-Theatrical - Burbank, CA
- Buena Vista Pictures Distribution Inc. - Burbank, CA
- Buena Vista Theatrical Group LLC - New York, NY
- Discover - New York, NY
- Disney Cruise Vacations Inc. - Celebration, FL
- Disney Educational Productions - Burbank, CA
- Disney Enterprises Inc. - Burbank, CA
- Disney Store Inc. - Glendale, CA
- Disney Vacation Club - Celebration, FL
- Disneyland Hotels - Anaheim, CA
- Disneyland Resorts - Anaheim, CA
- ESPN 88 - Bristol, CT
- ESPN Outdoors - Bristol, CT
- ESPN Regional Television - Charlotte, NC
- ESPN, Inc. - Bristol, CT
- Fishing Tackle Retailer - Montgomery, AL
- Hollywood Records Inc. - Burbank, CA
- Hyperion Books - New York, NY
- KABC-AM Radio, Inc. - Los Angeles, CA
- KABC-TV Inc. - Glendale, CA
- KFSN-TV Inc. - Fresno, CA
- KGO-AM Radio, Inc. - San Francisco, CA
- KLOS-FM Radio, Inc. - Los Angeles, CA
- KQRS Holding Corporation - New York, NY
- KQRS-FM, Inc. - Minneapolis, MN
- KTRK Television, Inc. - Houston, TX
- Lifetime Entertainment Services - New York, NY
- Lifetime Television Studios - Astoria, NY
- Lifetime Television, Detroit Office - Birmingham, MI
- Lifetime Television, Los Angeles Office - Los Angeles, CA
- Miramax Films, Inc. - New York, NY
- Office of Communications - New York, NY
- Reedy Creek Energy Services - Lake Buena Vista, FL
- RTL Disney Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG - Cologne, Germany
- Sportsticker Enterprises LP - Jersey City, NJ
- SuperComm Inc. - Dallas, TX
- The Baby Einstein Company, LLC - Glendale, CA
- The History Channel - New York, NY
- The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim - Anaheim, CA
- The Walt Disney Company (France) S.A. - Paris, France
- The Walt Disney Company (Germany) GmbH - Munich, Germany
- The Walt Disney Company (Italia) - Milan, Italy
- The Walt Disney Company Ltd. - London, United Kingdom
- The Walt Disney Consumer Products Canada - Toronto, Canada
- US Weekly L.L.C. - New York, NY
- WABC-AM Radio, Inc. - New York, NY
- WABC-TV Inc. - New York, NY
- Walt Disney Consumer Products - Burbank, CA
- Walt Disney Enterprises of Japan Ltd. - Tokyo, Japan
- Walt Disney Imagineering - Glendale, CA
- Walt Disney Internet Group (Subsidiary) - North Hollywood, CA
- Walt Disney Music Co. - Burbank, CA
- Walt Disney Network Television - Burbank, CA
- Walt Disney Parks & Resorts (Subsidiary) - Lake Buena Vista, FL
- Walt Disney Pictures & Television - Burbank, CA
- Walt Disney Resorts - Anaheim, CA
- Walt Disney World Co. - Lake Buena Vista, FL
- Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resorts - Orlando, FL
- WBAP-KSCS Radio, Inc. - Arlington, TX
- WDVD-FM - Detroit, MI
- WJR-AM - Detroit, MI
- WJRT-TV Inc. - Flint, MI
- WKHX-FM - Atlanta, GA
- WLS Inc. - Chicago, IL
- WLS Newstalk 890 - Chicago, IL
- WLS Television, Inc. - Chicago, IL
- WLS-AM Holding Company, Inc. - Chicago, IL
- WMAL, Inc. - Washington, DC
- Wonderland Music Co., Inc. - Burbank, CA
- WPLJ-FM Radio, Inc. - New York, NY
- WPVI-TV Inc. - Philadelphia, PA
- WRQX-ABC Radio - Washington, DC
- WTVD-TV Inc. - Durham, NC
- WTVG Inc. - Toledo, OH
Burbank, CA 91521 USA
Compare Disney to other companies in these industries
In October 2007, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), a Hong Kong-based nongovernmental organization that monitors and campaigns against coporate misbehavior, released a report detailing labor violations in Disney factories in China. Tianyu Toys has the distinct pleasure of being named the ninth Disney sweatshop named by SACOM in China. Workers went on strike after not being paid for 45 days. In addition to unpaid wages, they were also protesting long working hours which violated Chinese law. Workers were also exposed to unsafe working conditions such as unbearable heat and inadequate ventilation systems.
-- BBC News, 11/09/2007
Source URL: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7086702.stm
Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) found three factories that manufacture Disney products routinely violated Chinese labor standards. SACOM interviewed workers from Huangxing Light Manufacturing, Qisheng candle factories in Shenzhen, and Jianlong toy factory in Zhuhai. Labor violations included the following:
- Hourly wages below the legal minimum of 4.02 to 4.12 yuan an hour. SACOM found that workers were only receiving an hourly wage of 2.19 to 3.41 yuan (or US$0.28 to US$0.43)
- Monthly overtime of 60 to 136 hours. Chinese law states the legal maximum is 36 hours of monthly overtime
- Denial of overtime pay
- Inadequate living conditions. The Jianlong factory housed 12 people per room, 15 rooms per floor, with one shower and one toilet per floor
According to SACOM spokesperson Vivien Yau Tze-wei, “Workers are offered 70 yuan as a reward by the factories if they help them cover up the truth when asked by auditors.” The report concluded that “these results show the incompetence of corporate monitoring of labor standards.” Last year, SACOM found similar worker’s rights abuses at four other Disney suppliers in China.
-- Associated Press, 09/10/2006
Over 1,000 workers rioted in protest of the poor working conditions at the Merton factory in Guangdong province. According to China Labor Watch (CLW) dozens were injured. In their investigation at the Merton Company, CLW found that Merton factory failed to uphold international labor standards. Violations of worker rights included the following:
- Salaries fell below the legal minimum, ranging between 600 and 800 yuan (or US$75.60 and US$100.80) a month
- Routine workdays of 11 hours, 6 days a week
- Monthly overtime hours of 70 per month with the threat of salary deductions if employees refused to work overtime. Chinese law states the legal maximum is 36 hours of monthly overtime
- Denial of overtime pay
- Denial of paid national holidays, vacation, or sick leave
- Failure by Merton to provide adequate medical insurance or pension funds
Li Qiang, CLW’s executive director, remarked, “Chinese workers live at the bottom of the society. They have no means to voice their needs or to protect their lawful rights…. Tragedies such as the Merton riot were a result of the misguided social policy that overemphasizes economic growth and neglects labor rights.” Merton manufactures for companies such as McDonald’s, Disney, Time Warner, and Mattel.
-- China Labor Watch, 07/27/2006
At the 2006 shareholder meeting, the New York City Employees Retirement System called on Disney to "review and report to shareholders by September 2006, on the adherence of Disney’s suppliers in China to Disney’s corporate code of conduct, to the provisions of the Chinese government’s Labor Law, and to the core conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO). This report should be prepared at reasonable expense and contain no proprietary information."
-- Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, 05/01/2006
In March 2006, tens of thousands workers in export factories surrounding Ho Chi Minh City took part in a wave of massive strikes to protest low pay and poor working conditions. Among the protesters were employees of Danu Vina Corporation which manufactures stuffed animals to be sold in the US by Hallmark, Disney, and Starbucks. Workers at Danu Vina Corporation earn less than $2 per day.
-- Corporate Watch, 03/01/2006
Source URL: www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13358
Protestors gathered outside Hong Kong Disneyland in August 2005 to protest alleged labor abuse of contracted workers for Disney. Protestors claimed that workers were paid below the minimum wage, forced to work excessive overtime, and that monitors were shown fake pay slips.
-- Chinese Labor Union Base, 08/30/2005
According to the National Labor Committee, Disney maintains contractual relationships with sweatshops producing Disney gear and books. The factories allegedly employ child labor and regularly abuse International Labor Organization standards of conduct. In August of 2005, Scholars and Students Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), human rights and women’s movement leaders, and other activists convened in Hong Kong to confront Disney and ask for full disclosure of the factories that the company uses to source its products. Disney is also implicated in the NLC’s “Toys of Misery” report, along with Hasbro and Wal-Mart.
-- National Labor Committee, 08/01/2005
Conditions for workers at Niagra Textiles Ltd. in Bangladesh are extremely harsh. Laborers work 14-hour days, seven days a week. They are routinely abused for not working fast enough and sometimes imprisoned for asking to be paid ontime. Other abuses and violations include:
- 19-hour all-night shifts that are mandatory for workers once a week
- Workers are paid just 5 cents for every Disney garment they sew
- Speaking while working is prohibited on pain of lost wages
- Workers to do not receive any health insurance or sick days
- Corporate monitoring is a farce; workers know they will be fired if they speak the truth about their working conditions
-- National Labor Committee, 02/01/2004
Disney paid $903,000 to the State of California in December 2001 after one of its contractors violated child labor, minimum wage, and overtime laws while producing toys. The contractor, KTBA Inc., paid workers $1.20 per hour, while the state minimum wage was $6.25. State officials found workers violating state law by assembling tiaras and wands for children from their homes, and minors from 7 through 15 assembling products (minimum age is 16). KTBA, which has since gone out of business, owes workers $1.5 million, to be distributed by Disney.
-- California Labor Commissioner Bulletin, 04/01/2002
Source URL: www.dir.ca.gov/dirnews/2001/IR2001-11.html
Ethics and Governance
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a report in April 2006 titled "Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed." CMD documented television newsrooms' use of video news releases (VNRs), which are government and corporate prepackaged and sponsored "news" clips indistinguishable from traditional clips that serve as broadcast placement tools. VNRs were aired 98 times on 77 television stations without disclosure to viewers. Several stations owned by Fox/News Corporation edited, revoiced, and aired such clips. Disney owns the ABC television network.
-- Center for Media and Democracy, 04/01/2006
Source URL: www.prwatch.org/fakenews/stationlist
In France, a lawsuit was filed against Adecco, one of the world's largest hiring agencies for temporary employees, for rating potential workers by virtue of their skin color. According to the complaint, at least 1,500 applicants were denied jobs based on the color of their skin. When asked about their rating system, an Adecco representative said: "It's better to respect the choices of the client. If they don't want a black guy, you have to send what the client wants. It's business." Among Adecco’s clients is Disney Resort Paris theme park, which imposes limits on the number of black workers they accept.
-- Washington Post, 03/06/2006
The Project for Excellence in Journalism’s “State of the News Media 2006” report found that journalism is becoming increasingly dominated by a few large corporations, continuously moving away from public interest. A section titled “Day in the Life of the Media,” compares network TV news of ABC (owned by Disney), CBS (owned by Viacom), and NBC (owned by GE). When examining the evening newscasts, strikingly similar news stories were covered, particularly in the first 12 minutes. The report found that by the shows’ end, ABC and CBS only had one “package” that was unique to their newscasts.
-- Project for Excellence in Journalism, 01/01/2006
Source URL: www.stateofthenewsmedia.com/2006
According to the Social Investment Research Analyst Network, ten years after the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission recommended disclosure of diversity data as a way to remove barriers and promote women and minority advancement, most US companies still fail to fully disclose Equal Employment Opportunity data to the public. Disney is listed as one of the companies that does not provide full public disclosure.
-- Social Investment Research Analyst Network (SIRAN), 12/07/2005
Source URL: www.siran.org/projects_eeo_project.php
To commemorate Earth Day 2009, Disney partnered with The Nature Conservancy to plant 2.7 million trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, one tree for every person that went to see Disney’s EARTH during its first week in theaters. The Atlantic Forest is considered one of the most endangered forests in the world: only 7 percent of the original forest remains in isolated fragments. Through reforestation projects, The Nature Conservancy plans to reconnect 12 million acres of the forest. Disney’s contribution will help to accomplish this goal.
-- Deadline Hollywood, 05/05/2009
The Public Eye on Davos was awarded by Pro Natura and the Berne Declaration to Disney for violation of workers' and human rights in China. The Public Eye is awarded in order to expose the dark side of globalization and its impact on workers, communities, and the environment. The awards are presented in concert with the World Economic Forum.
-- Inter Press News Agency, 01/25/2006
Source URL: www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=31914
Health and Safety
A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of a Walt Disney World monorail worker killed in 2009 was voluntarily dismissed in March 2011 due to a settlement that to took place after the hearing. Austin Wuennenberg was a 21 year old Disney monorail pilot that was killed in July 2009 when two monoroails collided. His mother filed suit against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts early last year, claiming that her son’s former boss “flippantly” vacated his duty, creating a dangerous situation that was “virtually certain to result in injury or death.”
-- Nashua Telegraph, 03/28/2011
April Magolon, a 27 year old woman from Pennsylvania, claims that Donald Duck groped her at the Walt Disney World Park in May 2008; a federal judge has recently ruled that the lawsuit will go to court. Magolon claims that the character grabbed her breast as she held her child and then joked about it. She also argues that the encounter left her with post-traumatic stress in the form of nightmares, digestive problems and other permanent injuries. Furthermore, she claims that Disney parks have a history of fondling complaints involving workers but Disney has not taken any action by putting profits over public safety. According to the suit, there were 24 complaints submitted to Florida authorities after an employee dressed as “Tigger” was charged with molesting a 13 year old girl and her mother in 2004. The employee was later acquitted though after his lawyer donned the Tigger costume in court and argued his client wasn’t able to see much.
-- CBS News, 01/03/2011
A recent lawsuit filed in Los Angeles against Disney claims that the company has been dumping the waste from their on-site cooling systems since 1998. Concerned citizens in the area of Burbank, California hired Environmental Worldwatch, Inc to test local waterways for chromium 6, which increase the risk of lung cancer in those who inhale it; the group has reported that “significant quantities” of the toxin were found downstream from Disney’s facilities. According to the lawsuit, the contaminated runoff had stayed on Disney property before but then, the flow was changed so the runoff now goes through an underground pipeline that flows into the LA River and curbside drains, effectively threatening underground drinking water supplies. Disney has also allegedly stayed silent on the runoff’s possible danger to the public for over 20 years by ignoring a 1986 law (Proposition 65) that requires facilities to report toxins released into the air.
-- Eco Child's Play, 06/12/2009
Three Disney-licensed charm bracelet sets and four charms for children were tested and found to contain illegal levels of lead, according to the U.S. advocacy group Center for Environmental Health. These products had between three and eight times the federally permitted levels of lead in the bracelets' coating, according to an independent laboratory commissioned by the group.
-- Reuters, 06/11/2008
In 2004, Greenpeace staged a protest at the UK headquarters of Disney in London to mark the release of a report that alleges hazardous chemicals are present in Disney children's clothing. "Toxic Childrenswear by Disney", claims to detail independent analysis of Disney garments bought in 19 different countries. It claims that research carried out by an independent laboratory found the toxic chemical called nonylphenol, which can interfere with human DNA and affect sperm production in mammals, was found on five pairs of pajamas available at the Disney Store. It also reports that other toxic substances were found on clothing available at the Disney Store. Disney responded by releasing a statement saying, "Disney requires that Disney products, including pajamas, are tested to and conform to safety standards set by the European Commission and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission."
-- Ethical Corporation, 04/15/2004