Disney is laying off staffers in its studio division — including six individuals at Searchlight — according to an individual with knowledge of the situation. A rep for Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the number of employees affected, but Variety reported that the cuts involved at least 50 staffers and the elimination of several hundred open positions.
Disney’s studio marketing group along with its theatrical stage team in New York will also be impacted. The reductions follow the news that ESPN is eliminating 500 jobs in an effort to cut costs amid the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro informed his staff on Thursday.
Back in September, Disney eliminated around 28,000 domestic jobs in its theme parks division due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, two-thirds of which will be part-time roles. The company blamed California for exacerbating its financial woes due to its “unwillingness” to lift COVID-19 restrictions that would allow Disneyland, which has remained closed since March, to reopen. Walt Disney World in Florida has been opened with limited capacity since July.
Also on Thursday, Lionsgate’s global motion picture group will reduce its workforce and undergo cuts, the group’s chairman Joe Drake announced in a memo to staff. The layoffs will impact roughly 15% of the workforce, an individual with knowledge added.
Last week, layoffs hit Sony Pictures Entertainment as the studio announced it would be merging its theatrical, home entertainment, and television distribution marketing teams, while Andre Caraco is stepping down from his post as co-president of Global Marketing, Josh Greenstein, president of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, and Keith Le Goy, president of networks and distribution at Sony Pictures Television, announced the merger in an email to staff members.
Deadline first reported the news.