While Disneyland works to create a utopia for visitors, that doesn’t seem to be the case for their employees. Though labour protests are nothing new for the theme park, the Guardian reports that activists have most recently targeted “the happiest place on earth” for contributing to the local homelessness epidemic because of their low wages.
On Friday, organiser Jeanine Robbins and dozens of others spent the day calling attention to the issue. Homelessness in Orange County — where Disneyland is the largest employer — is staggering.
“There are Disney employees who live on the street. They live in their cars. They live in unstable housing,” Robbins said.
Per the Guardian:
Another Disney employee said she believed that people slept in the staff parking lot, and knew of one coworker who does so when she’s too exhausted to drive home between shifts. The employee said she wasn’t aware of any resources to help people sleeping in their cars. “It’s a thing that happens, but from what I’ve heard it’s just a matter of ‘do whatever you have to do not to be late to your shift’.”
Back in December, 61-year-old Disney custodian Yeweinishet Mesfin was even found dead in her car, where she lived.
Unfortunately, visitors didn’t seem to take kindly to the protesters’ message. “We’re getting a lot of hostility from the Disney fans, saying if they aren’t making enough money, ‘why don’t they go work somewhere else?’” Robbins shared. “Why don’t they go live somewhere else if they can’t afford to live here?’”