Although they are known for being the happiest places on earth, Walt Disney theme parks had to deliver some unfortunate news.
Disney Parks let go of 28,000 employees across its U.S. parks due to COVID-19 financial complications. Josh D’Amaro, head of parks at Disney, sent an email to employees on Sept. 29 detailing the reasons for the mass layoff.
“For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company,” D’Amaro said in the email. “We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.”
The company has stated that this move will put them in a position to reopen as a more effective and efficient operation.“It was better than giving those employees the hope that they might have a job later on,” said Chloe Daniels, freshman journalism major. “They gave their employees a chance to find another job so I think they’ve done everything right.”
This action comes after Disney’s announcement in March announcing the furlough of 100,000 employees across its parks due to COVID-19 restrictions.
True Sarmiento, junior engineering student, said he feels this was not an acceptable action by the company.
“This was not cool, Sarmiento said. “Many companies are at least keeping employees on retainer. Some people depend on that stability and now they no longer have it. Really kind of disappointing.”
As of Oct. 13, Disney’s parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have reopened, while parks in California are still closed. Disney has not yet released plans of action regarding reopening.
Mikalya Bennets, senior marketing major and former Disney character actress, said she was upset to get the call she had lost the job she loved.
“I received a call from someone in HR,” Bennets said. “It was not even one of my own managers. They simply let me know they would be releasing my role and that was it.”
COVID-19 has caused many businesses to adapt and make all kinds of cuts to survive this time of uncertainty. Many have lost their jobs and businesses have gone bankrupt. It is hard for Disney Land lovers to see Disney having to do the same.
The decision to let employees at the theme parks go has sparked some controversy. An article from Forbes pointed out that top executives of the company are doing quite well and the pay gap between the CEOs of the company and the average worker remains a large discrepancy.