Disney Laid Off 28,000 Employees After Senior Execs Had Full Salaries Restored

Published on October 1, 2020

Disney recently laid off 28,000 park employees from their Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, locations. According to Walt Disney’s parks chief, Josh D’Amaro, the state of California was largely to blame for failing to let the park reopen during the pandemic. Major Disney execs took payouts earlier this year shortly before almost 30,000 Disney layoffs. Presently, those executives are receiving their full salaries with bonuses incoming.

COVID-19 caused Disney’s theme parks—their largest source of revenue—to close down. During the beginning of the shutdown, senior Disney execs took pay cuts. The move was to help the company out during the trying times, which even kept former Disney CEO Bob Iger still in action and trying to help Disney with the pandemic. Back in August, Disney execs saw their salaries fully restored. It happened when park employees remained furloughed and 28,000 employees were on the chopping block.

It’s a fact that goes unmentioned in Disney’s press release about letting notoriously underpaid park employees go. Again, D’Amaro placed blame on California for the decision. “In light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business,” explained D’Amaro in the press release, “including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic – exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen – we have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels.”

So far there have been no Disney layoffs among the executives. The new CEO of Disney, Bob Chapek, had his salary reduced by 50%. As for Iger, he forged his entire salary. For other executives, the pay cut ranged between 20% to 30%. The salaries saw a salary decrease starting on April 5th. At the time, Disney announced salaries would be fully restored when there was “a substantive recovery in business.” Before Disney decided to let go of 28,000 employees, they also decided there was a enough substantial recovery in business to restore their executive’s pay.

Last year, Bob Iger made close to $70 million working at Disney. An average park employee, on the other hand, makes between $9 to $14 an hour. On top of that, Disney’s park managers have allegedly been instructing park employees to return to work after testing positive during COVID-19. According to a report from The Daily Beast, Disney has mishandled cases of the coronavirus among their park employees. “Workers Reveal Disney is Covering Up Its COVID Cases,” read the headline.

Disney has already lost $2 billion from the parks, but Chapek confirmed last month the company was still making a profit. The company is valued at $130 billion. Although 28,000 employees were terminated by Disney, Chapek will reportedly receive an incentive award worth over $15 million. He’s not the only one receiving an incentive bonus. Other executives will, too, from the sound of it.

Like all of Disney’s public misdeeds, the company and their representatives won’t comment on the matter. Whenever there’s a hint of controversy within the company and surrounding it, the house of the Mouse almost always goes silent. After how much money the company lost this year, too, it’ll be telling to see how much Disney ends up paying in taxes after financial losses and mass Disney layoffs.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

Read more

More GD News