Disney parks have always been touted as places where dreams come true, but the coronavirus pandemic has been a nightmare for business and that is leading to further job cuts.
Walt Disney Co. increased layoff projections from 28,000 to 32,000 by March as it grapples with closed theme parks and a greatly reduced movie theater industry. The entertainment giant made the disclosure in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. About 100,000 of its 223,000 worldwide employees work in the U.S.
Most of the layoffs will hit Disney parks, experiences and products divisions, where about 155,000 people work. About 37,000 employees were placed on furlough on Oct. 3.
Disney may also reduce what it contributes to pensions and retirement medical plans and cut television and film investments. “Some of these measures have an adverse effect on our business,” Disney said in the filing.
Disney reported a year-long loss of $2.8 billion at the end of the third quarter, compared to a $10.4 billion profit for the previous year.
Disney’s 12 theme parks closed in May, with only the Shanghai and Orlando now open. Its two anchor parks in California are not able to reopen until coronavirus cases drop to a rate of 1 per 100,00 people. Orange County is at 20.2 cases per 100,000 people.
It might be hard to tell how founder Roy O. Disney would feel about it, but his granddaughter, Abigail, made it clear how she felt in the spring when the company stopped paying 100,000 workers in April and protected $1.5 billion in bonus payouts.
“That’d pay for three months’ salary to frontline workers,” she tweeted. “And it’s going to people who have already been collecting egregious bonuses for years. … Pay the people who make the magic happen with respect and dignity they have more than earned from you. This company must do better.”
Seven months later, it doesn’t look like it will.