Walt Disney Co. is planning to layoff thousands of employees next week, including roughly 15 percent of those in the company’s entertainment division, people familiar with the plans said, according to Bloomberg.
The massive cuts will impact workers in TV and film, as well as theme parks and corporate teams, Bloomberg’s sources said. The downsizing comes after Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger announced in February plans to eliminate 7,000 jobs.
“While this is necessary to address the challenges we’re facing today, I do not make this decision lightly,” Iger said at the time, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “I have enormous respect and appreciation for the talent and dedication of our employees worldwide, and I’m mindful of the personal impact of these changes.”
Iger returned to Disney in November after the company posted a $1.47 billion quarterly loss in its streaming business, which includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. The CEO recently told Time Magazine that he was “very, very surprised” by his return, according to Fox Business.
“It was not something I was contemplating,” he told Time. “I had been out for about a year, 11 months. The chairman of the board of Disney set up a call with me.”
“I think [my wife] actually said, ‘They’re probably not going to ask you back.’ And I said, ‘Well, what if they do?’ And she immediately responded, ‘Yes.’ I have such respect for her instinct, that when the call came and I was asked by the chairman of our board to come back, I responded ‘yes’ without any hesitation,” Iger said.
Disney has been embroiled in several controversies in recent years. In March 2022, the company issued a statement opposing Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, which requires school districts to be transparent and inform parents about the instructional materials they use. The act further prohibits schools from certain types of teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity and prohibits such teaching below certain grade levels.
The move sparked an ongoing battle between Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who subsequently signed a bill dissolving Walt Disney World’s self-governance, a privilege that Walt Disney Co. was granted with the passage of the Reedy Creek Improvement Act in May 1967.