As Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets closes in on becoming a done deal, Variety reports that the human cost has been largely overlooked in media coverage of the acquisition.
“For the past 10 months, the employees who make up 20th Century Fox, the company’s film division and one of Hollywood’s busiest studios, have been painfully aware that they will likely be laid off. One staffer likened life on the Century City lot to death row — without much hope of achieving a pardon or even a stay of execution,” Variety reports.
The report adds: “Nor has there been much clarity about what life will be like when the sale officially closes, which is expected to happen in early January. A few executives and filmmakers, such as Matthew Vaughn, have received reassuring phone calls from Disney chief Bob Iger, relaying his desire to get to know them better. For the most part, Disney has remained mum on its post-merger film plans, though it did appoint top Fox executives Peter Rice and Dana Walden to lead the conglomerate’s non-sports television operations.”
Variety quotes a top film-packaging agent saying: “There’s going to be a lot of people out on the street.”
The report notes that a number of executives and staffers “rushed for the exit” as soon as bonuses were distributed back in August. Variety quotes one person who recently left the company saying: “It’s hard to ignore that people are dropping like flies.”
Variety adds: “Executives on both the film and TV sides who elected to leave after the sale was announced have successfully found new homes at companies like Netflix and Viacom, the alum noted, but one day soon the jobs might not be so easy to come by.”
We encourage readers to click on the link above to Variety to read the full report.