Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight has become the latest victim in Disney’s second wave of layoffs as the entertainment giant continues to carry out a previously announced plan to cut a total of 7,000 jobs and generate $5.5 billion in cost savings.
Silver told FiveThirtyEight employees via Slack that he expects to leave Disney when his contract is up, which he noted would be “soon,” TheWrap has learned.
The data-driven politics website was founded by Silver in 2008. In 2010, FiveThirtyEight became a licensed feature of the New York Times. It was acquired by Disney and ESPN in 2013 and later moved to ABC News.
“Disney layoffs have substantially impacted FiveThirtyEight. I am sad and disappointed to a degree that’s kind of hard to express right now. We’ve been at Disney almost 10 years. My contract is up soon and I expect that I’ll be leaving at the end of it,” Silver confirmed in a tweet on Tuesday after the news broke. “I had been worried about an outcome like this and so have had some great initial conversations about opportunities elsewhere. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. I am so proud of the work of FiveThirtyEight staff. It has never been easy. I’m so sorry to the people impacted by this.”
An ABC News spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap that it plans to keep the FiveThirtyEight brand name.
“ABC News remains dedicated to data journalism with a core focus on politics, the economy and enterprise reporting – this streamlined structure will allow us to be more closely aligned with our priorities for the 2024 election and beyond,” the spokesperson said. “We are grateful for the invaluable contributions of the team members who will be departing the organization and know they will continue to make an important impact on the future of journalism.”
Disney kicked off its first wave of layoffs in March. At the time, the company said that ABC News unit would lose a total of 50 staffers throughout the entire layoff process. The spokesperson declined to disclose how many ABC News employees were impacted in the current wave.
In January, The Daily Beast reported that ABC News was considering offloading FiveThirtyEight. However, ABC News refuted that report at the time, telling TheWrap there were “no imminent decisions about our relationship with FiveThirtyEight.”
In addition to FiveThirtyEight, Freeform, ABC and ESPN have been impacted in the second wave, with Freeform development senior vice president Julie Jarmon and director of development and programming Alix Lee, ABC senior vice president of current programming Stacey Adams, ABC Signature senior vice president of music Dawn Solér and ESPN’s vice president of corporate communications Mike Soltys among those impacted.
By the end of the week, 4,000 employees of the targeted 7,000 employees will have been let go. ESPN chair Jimmy Pitaro told employees in a memo on Monday that notifications for a third wave of cuts involving individuals who are not in front-facing talent roles will be completed by the start of the summer.