Disney Allegedly Not Paying Its Writers

By Joseph Farago | 1 week ago

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Disney has been a larger-than-life corporation for decades, making blockbuster hits one after another. With substantial revenue coming in, one would expect management to pay out its creative team adequately. Apparently, Disney is having trouble paying its writers correctly, especially regarding royalties.

Disney has unfortunately been cheating out its writers and artists from gaining monetary benefits for their creative work. For graphic novels and novelizations are produced based on Disney characters, the artists that made those characters aren’t receiving their proper financial compensation. Creatives being cut out of their rightful royalties has been a Disney issue for years, but workers are finally deciding to fight back.

Since Disney’s inadequate compensation practices were disclosed, a task force has been assembled to combat the company. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America coalition designed this task force to fight for rightful pay, alongside other major artist groups like the Writers Guild East and West. As many organizations join forces, the more probable it’ll be that Disney compensates its workers rightfully.

Though many creatives have continuously called on Disney to address this wage theft, the company is mostly turning a blind eye. According to Mary Robinette Kowal, past president of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Disney announced that people would only be compensated if they contacted the company directly. This completely undermined the task force’s proposition of providing the company with every worker’s name and address who wants improperly paid. Still, the movie and tv corporation has decided to remain silent on the task force’s demands.

Writers and artists who have been instrumental members in crafting beloved characters deserve to have their work compensated. But royalty agreements are a tumultuous thing for Disney, which has varied its contractual obligations over the years. Some contracts don’t include royalties or have clauses that terminate Disney’s need to pay royalties after a certain amount of time. A history of Disney’s wage theft has landed the corporation in this position, with massive coalitions fighting the company for proper employee compensation.

It’s not a lack of funds that deterred Disney from paying its workers. Last year, Disney made $2.5 billion in profits and $67.4 billion in revenue, a considerable amount for any company in a precarious economy. Because of Disney’s exceptional profit accumulation, it would only make sense for the company to pay all of its workers an acceptable, ethical amount. But by restricting creatives from receiving their rightful royalties, Disney executives are immorally profiting exponentially.

Disney Florida

Though these royalty issues came to light over the last few years, some contractors have suffered for decades. One of the most notable cases is Star Wars author Alan Dean Foster. George Lucas and the house of mouse commissioned Foster to write the first novelization of Star Wars years before the movie premiered. In 2012, royalties that were embedded in Foster’s contacts suddenly stopped. It took until 2020 for Foster to regain those eight years of unpaid royalties.

Disney still hasn’t addressed the public outcry for royalty compensation. With writers and contractors financially crunched nationwide, it’s only ethical to compensate workers who’ve had a hand in making this multi-billion dollar company.