Disney, 59, said younger people had “understandable resentment” toward their elders’ handling of issues ranging from climate change to racial justice.
“How about you guys sit … down and let the kids drive,” wrote Disney, whose grandfather and great-uncle founded the Walt Disney Company. “It’s not like you’ve done such a great job with the time you have had.”
Although generational sniping is not new, the pithy retort “OK, boomer” has grown dramatically in popularity this year as Generation Z increasingly lambastes older generations for their handling of climate change, economic issues and gun policy. The disdainfulness of the phrase is meant to brush off boomers in the same way that some boomers dismiss younger generations.
Allegations of ageism have accompanied the phrase’s recent prevalence. Conservative radio host Bob Lonsberry went so far as to call it “the n-word of ageism” in a since-deleted tweet.
Disney’s defense of “OK, boomer” is notable not just for her last name but also for her willingness to wade into the generational warfare to defend criticism of her own age group. Disney does not have an active role in her family’s mass-media and entertainment company. She is a documentary filmmaker with a history of activism, particularly around income equality.
Disney criticized Bob Iger, the chief executive of Walt Disney, in April for pocketing $65.6 million in compensation in 2018 while Disneyland employees in Anaheim, Calif., struggled to cover their basic needs. She has advocated for better pay for those employees, whom she visited to learn more about their working conditions.
In June, Disney signed a letter from wealthy Americans urging the 2020 presidential candidates to back a tax on the richest one-tenth of the richest 1 percent of Americans.