Walt Disney Co begins second wave of layoffs, cutting several thousand jobs

by mcardinal

Walt Disney Co began a second wave of layoffs on Monday involving thousands of jobs, as part of efforts to eliminate 7,000 positions and save $5.5 billion in costs.

The company will cut “several thousand” jobs through Thursday, with the latest round of reductions bringing the total number of jobs culled to 4,000, Disney officials say.

The cuts will occur across the company’s business segments, including Disney Entertainment, ESPN and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, according to sources, but are not expected to affect hourly frontline workers employed at the parks and resorts.

An internal memo seen by Reuters said the layoff notices will continue over the next several days.

“The senior leadership teams have been working diligently to define our future organization, and our biggest priority has been getting this right, rather than getting it done fast,” Disney Entertainment co-chairmen Alan Bergman and Dana Walden wrote in the memo to staff.

“We recognize that it has been a period of uncertainty and thank you all for your understanding and patience,” they said.

Disney announced its layoff plan in February, together with a reorganization that returned decision-making to its creative executives. Its goal is to create a more streamlined approach to its business.

The entertainment industry has retrenched since its early embrace of video streaming when established media companies lost billions as they launched competitors to Netflix Inc.

Media companies started to rein in spending when Netflix posted its first loss of subscribers in a decade in early 2022, and Wall Street began prioritizing profitability over subscriber growth.

The layoffs also come amidst a backdrop of protests against the company for wading into the culture wars. Multiple movies that have promoted leftist ideologies to children have flopped at the box office and on its streaming platform. Additionally,  the company’s long-held autonomous decision-making in the state of Florida was stripped after executives spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill which prohibits the teaching of gender ideology in schools.

On March 27, Disney began notifying employees affected by the workforce reductions and said a second, larger round would follow in April. A third round is anticipated before the start of summer.

Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters. Additions and edits for FISM News by Michael Cardinal.