Disney heiress doubles down on her support for 'OK, Boomer'

Abigail Disney
Steve Zak Photography | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Abigail Disney, heiress to the mass media and entertainment firm, voiced her support for a younger generation that she said is struggling with debt and afraid to take the same risk as their parents did.

"If (millennials) are angry I don't blame them," Disney, 59, told CNBC on Thursday. She argued that it was her generation of baby boomers who had made decisions around tax structures, public spending and the university system, that created the circumstances under which young people were now "laboring intensely and having a very hard time."

Disney's comments come a week after she took to Twitter to rail against her fellow boomers — the generation born between 1946 and 1964 — who took offence to the phrase "OK, Boomer."

While Disney said she was "a little angry at myself for jumping into the whole discussion because you can't make generalizations about generations," she understood millennials' frustrations.

Having raised millennials herself, Disney said she saw young people who wanted to make changes to the societal structure which was no longer the same as when her generation was young.

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"(Millennials are) coming out of college with massive amounts of debt, some of them can never hope to pay it off," she said. "So they're taking jobs they otherwise wouldn't have taken. They're not taking risks, they otherwise would have taken."

And even if certain millennials weren't experiencing these struggles themselves, she said they were still witnessing a generation "laden down with these problems," which has a "knock-on effect."

'Ferociously misogynistic'

Disney was speaking to CNBC's Karen Tso at the Women's Forum in Paris, where she also discussed the gender inequality and biases that exist within the finance and technology sectors, describing the latter as a "ferociously misogynistic business."

When asked about the recent reports of Apple Card's gender bias and whether she feared these types of problems would worsen with the progression of technology, Disney said she was "terrified."

"A significant number of those algorithms are being written by men but they're not just being written by any men … These are actively misogynistic men in many cases who are writing algorithms without the benefit of extra pairs of eyes and ears and experiences," she said.

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However, Disney took issue with the use of the word "inclusion" as a catch-all solution to the gender gap.

"Inclusion posits a center and an outside, so the center is never challenged," she explained. "Inclusion says 'I'm going to open the doors to the center and let a few people in and then close them back up again'."

"There's something that's normal and it's generally male and it's generally white — it's the default setting for human beings," she continued.

Disney said this could be seen in medical or crash test studies, for example, where women were treated as "men that had babies" and "slightly more complicated versions of the default."

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