Woke Disney Begins Layoffs With TV Production, acquisition Employees

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

The company that Walt Disney built has spent decades riding high in the entertainment industry. But going too far in liberal woke ideology has not proved to be successful for the company with Americans rebelling against new productions and programming that expounds the current woke ideals but flies in the face of traditional values.

Many families have canceled the cable Disney+ at record numbers due to woke programming, and Disney’s recent effort at the box office, “Strange World” flopped.

At the same time, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law restricting the 56-year-old autonomy of Disney in Florida and giving the governor power to appoint the board that oversees the special district where Disney resides, governing itself.

The legislation renames the special Reedy Creek district as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight district and removes its board, replacing it with five government officials appointed by the governor and approved by the state Senate, and who cannot have worked for a company that owns a theme park within the last three years.

As Breitbart News reported in January, Gov. Ron DeSantis was following through on his promise to strip Disney of its self-governing status in his state.

“A new plan introduced by the state legislature Friday — with the backing of the governor — proposes a special law that would put in place state oversight over Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, effectively ending Disney’s self-rule over its Orlando fiefdom where it has enjoyed numerous special privileges, including tax breaks, for five decades,” noted the report.

The law means Disney will have to work with the government of Florida and contribute in taxes toward the maintenance of the district.

These huge changes for The corporation resulted in a change of leadership and the reinstatement of former Disney CEO, Bob Iger, who is replacing his own replacement Bob Chapek, under whose watch many of the aforementioned happenings occurred.

Under Iger’s returned leadership, Disney has now begun layoffs this week focused across television production and acquisitions as the company’s freefall in the marketplace continues.

Disney did not reveal the full extent of Monday’s layoffs or the exact impact it will have on day-to-day operations at the company. The TV side appears to be taking the hardest hit right with more layoffs slated for later this week, Breitbart reported.

“Among the notable staffers let go Monday are Jayne Bieber, senior VP production at Freeform/Onyx Collective; Mark Levenstein, head of production and postproduction at Hulu; and Elizabeth Newman, head of Disney’s acquisitions department,” noted The Hollywood Reporter (THR).

“Sources note Newman’s entire acquisitions team has been dissolved, while Bieber and Levenstein’s production teams will be folded under Carol Turner, exec VP production at ABC Signature,” THR added.

Another division at Disney to get the axe is the metaverse division. Headed by Mike White, and launched after Mark Zuckerberg began his “Metaverse” the division was charged with “connecting the physical and digital worlds” for Disney Entertainment. The metaverse division was designed by Chapek, who said in 2021 that Disney would create “unparalleled opportunities” for consumers to engage with its products and platforms.

All 50 employees in the division were let go, but White remains at the company in an unspecified position, CNBC reported. CEO Iger already publicly said the company expects to lay off roughly 7,000 staffers to save roughly $5.5 billion on the eve of a recession.

Iger replaced Chapek after Disney took a nosedive under his leadership due to fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and a series of woke blunders that destroyed the company’s brand beyond repair, starting when the company opposed Florida’s anti-groomer law that barred teachers from discussing sexuality with kindergarteners and third-graders, and DeSantis enacted legislation to give more parental control over elementary classrooms in public schools in the Sunshine State.

Cutting production staff to balance losses and the impending new relationship with the state of Florida comes at the same time that Disney workers have been lobbying for an increase in starting pay.

“Unite Here Local 737, one of the unions involved, released a survey last year that said some theme-park staffers had skipped meals because they didn’t have enough money to pay for food,” cited Fortune. “The workers cited the rising cost of living in central Florida as reason for their wage demands.”

Just last week, Disney reached a tentative agreement with unions at the company’s Florida theme parks who were pressing for better wages. The unions agreed to a $3 per hour pay increase by the end of 2023 and raises of roughly 37% by 2026. The agreed negotiations are “guaranteeing janitors, ride operators, and food-service staff minimum pay of $18 an hour,” including an immediate raise to $17 per hour.

Florida’s minimum wage is now $11 per hour and will rise to $12 in September. Disney’s minimum has been $15 per hour until the agreement with the union.

Disney will hold its annual shareholder meeting on April 3.


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