Many employees said that Disney had little chance of knowing who would be fired and when.
At the Walt Disney Shareholders' Meeting held two weeks ago, Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger spoke of the "long-term value" inherent in the Company's impending acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox. "We will get to work as soon as the agreement is reached," he told participants.
The flowery language, worthy of such a monumental contract, was typical of Disney's comments for over a year while regulators had slowly approved partial merger.
A public word was announced about the layoffs, but less than two days after the official signing of the $ 71.3 billion deal Wednesday at midnight ET, it was clear that running on the ground meant, at least in the beginning, many jobs lost.
"Today, I hate everyone," said a nervous employee who worries about his work. "I hate Disney for buying Fox, I hate Fox for selling, I hate politicians for allowing this to happen."
Some of the frustration, say several employees The Hollywood journalistDisney has been less than possible on who will be let go and when. With respect to severance benefits, employees were told that they would benefit from a two-week period for each year of service and a two-year limit.
A Disney employee said, "We have the feeling that we are the ones that were acquired because Fox employees know their severance pay, if they are fired, and nobody at Disney knows nothing. and rightly – because nobody tells them anything. "
Indeed, Disney has not revealed the number of jobs that would be lost – and that has not changed yet. Analysts estimate between 4,000 and 10,000, but several employees say the number of people aware is closer to 3,000.
Among the many assets acquired by Disney was the Fox film and television studio, where several top executives were briefed all Thursday, including 20th Century Fox Domestic Distribution President Chris Aronson, President of Pamela International Marketing. Levine, Co-Chair Kevin Campbell and Tony Sella, Content Manager.
A Fox studio employee described a "revolving door of executives entering and exiting a conference hall with a Disney HR staff."
Fox's other associates include international distribution president Andrew Cripps, vice-president of corporate communications Dan Berger, director of legal affairs Bob Cohen, and vice-president advertising. Heather Phillips.
An employee on the TV side said THR how television employees were discouraged from attending the carnage in a movie, but later, the ax began to fall there too, with Twentieth Television's president, Greg Meidel, dropped.
Jim Fielding, boss of Fox Consumer Products, was also fired. According to sources, out of about 50 employees based in the United States in this division, five received pink leaflets. "I've never seen anything like that – from any company," says a Fox employee who witnessed Thursday's tragedy.
Disney has always said that he was planning to save $ 2 billion a year by 2021 thanks to the savings achieved through the merger. Such rhetoric usually means that jobs will be lost. "That's what happens in mergers," says Steven Birenberg, founder of Northlake Capital Management. "It's partly the goal because cost savings are boosting finances."
Meanwhile, at Fox Corporation, which now includes assets not purchased by Disney, including Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and the Fox Broadcast Network, CEO Lachlan Murdoch told employees that they were all owners of the company. new company. of them would be gifted between $ 1,000 and $ 3,000 in stock, depending on their seniority.
One of the biggest surprises of Thursday is that Disney announced the closing of Fox 2000, the famous brand of medium-budget movies like The devil dresses in Prada and Hidden figures. Disney expects to complete the production and distribution of Fox 2000 The art of running in the rain with Kevin Costner and The woman at the window with Amy Adams and Gary Oldman, and perhaps other films in the label work.
"I'm honestly angry, shocked and really hurt." As a long-time Disney fan, it's hard to say, but I think filming Fox 2000 will become a big mistake. has adopted a flawless strategy, "said Marty Bowen, producer of Fox 2000 titles as Fault in our stars and Love, Simon.
Bowen added: "The Bungalow 2000 is a safe haven for filmmakers, a place where laughter and tears coexist and where the first thought was always" what's best for the film. "I know that efficiency must be achieved when two monsters do more than one, but we can never forget the importance that creativity and passion play in making great movies. "