Hollywood is in crisis as a wave of staff reductions at entertainment industry giants including the Walt Disney Company has left Tinseltown on its knees — and Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff is demanding a federal bailout for the entertainment industry.
Just how bad is the carnage? In Los Angeles County alone, 14,000 entertainment-related workers saw their jobs disappear in less than two months, according to a new report from tech news outlet dot.LA.
Meanwhile, Tinseltown could see even more bloodshed in the second quarter, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Endeavor — the largest Hollywood talent agency, as well as a studio — recently said that it will lay off or furlough up to a third of its staff. Disney has furloughed more than 100,000 employees worldwide, mostly in the company’s parks division.
The United States is “in debt” to the entertainment industry, including Hollywood, and the nation must repay this debt by providing “entertainment industry professionals” with government financial relief, according to Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff.
Writing an op-ed in Variety magazine, Rep. Schiff called on Congress to give taxpayer-funded benefits to industry professionals, including actors, as part of a government’s coronavirus stimulus package.
“Congress has already passed bipartisan legislation to help protect the health and financial security of families across the country as we confront this unprecedented challenge.
“But we will need to pass a much larger relief package, and do so soon, including direct payments to Americans to help them weather this storm. Entertainment workers must not be left behind. ” – Rep. Adam Schiff, Variety.
Breitbart report: Hollywood has been hit on multiple fronts, including the closure of cinemas and the suspension of live sports, which is usually a cash cow for broadcasters. The L.A. office of Fox Sports Productions saw 3,595 people temporarily laid off at the end of April, according to dot.LA.
Some of the biggest job losses have come from the production sector, which consists of below-the-line crew members who typically toil year round on crowded movie and TV sets. Hollywood’s trade unions have seen their members idle without work as soundstages around the country remain empty.
Breitbart News reported last week that Hollywood studios are currently working on ways to make sets safe when production ultimately resumes. While no major studio has yet to announce a timetable, one source told Breitbart that U.S. production may resume in June at the earliest.
But L.A. County’s decision to prolong its stay-at-home order for an additional three months is only creating more uncertainty.
Tyler Perry recently announced that his Atlanta studio will resume limited production in July. Countries including New Zealand, Poland, the Czech Republic have also announced that shooting can resume.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that individual studios are remaining vague about potential future layoffs. But some executives have spoken about coronavirus-related cost savings.
ViacomCBS has indicated that it will take more cost-cutting steps in addition to the ones already realized from the re-merger of Viacom and CBS.
Chief financial officer Christina Spade said the company was “taking additional cost-cutting actions and implementing initiatives to reduce discretionary expenses” amid the pandemic. “We are learning from this crisis and finding ways that we can operate more efficiently,” she said during a recent earnings call.
Meanwhile, Disney has begun the gradual process of re-opening its theme parks and resorts. Disney Springs in Orlando is set to partially re-open on May 20, though the adjacent Walt Disney World remains closed. Shanghai Disney Resort recently opened again with visitors required to take special precautions, including social distancing and masks.