Op-Ed: Disney Is Sending Mixed Messages With Handling of Pandemic
The optics of Disney’s recent business decisions are not great. We understand that these are unprecedented times but many Disney fans are still scratching their heads at the decisions The Walt Disney Company has made over the last few months in response to the Pandemic.
Disney started off pretty well. They were clear about what was needed to be done to keep people safe while simultaneously doing everything they could to protect their cast members’ livelihoods. They even reduced the pay structure of their executives reflecting the financial struggles the company was anticipating.
Since then however, it seems like Disney can do nothing right.
First they announce pauses or complete cancellation to plans for refurbishments or new attractions yet at the same time, announce the plans to remove Splash Mountain, a fan favorite, for a new ride. Whether you agree or disagree with why Splash Mountain is being removed, it’s confusing because how is this possible while you’re simultaneously saying you have to pause other projects due to costs?
Next, Disney announces that executive salaries & bonuses will be reinstated to pre-pandemic levels. If one reads this, one is to assume things are headed in the right direction? Things must be getting better? Apparently not. Despite taking care of themselves, Disney higherups had other plans for their cast members. Just announced, Disney plans to layoff 28,000 cast members in the near future. How do you have the balls (excuse my language) to reinstate your slight cut in pay while simultaenously ruining thousands of lives? Even if you are this greedy, common sense would suggest you hold off on a decision like this. The optics are just terrible.
Another head scratcher, is that while Disney announced the 28,000 layoffs, they used California Governor Newsom’s decision not to allow Disneyland to reopen as part of the reason for the mass layoffs. Which would make sense, except on the other end of the country, Florida Governor Desantis is telling you it’s OK to reopen parks & restaurants at full capacity. Your response to that announcement was letting everyone know that the job killing measures of reduced crowds would remain in effect. If crowds were allowed to increase, which the Florida Governor said was OK, certainly you could hold off on some of these layoffs.
Regardless of how you feel about all of this, it seems safe to say that the next few months or maybe even years, are going to be pretty sad for Disney fans & cast members.