Requiem For 4,000 Fox Jobs Lost – Welcome To The New Hollywood

How do you take the measure of 4,000 jobs lost in an industry with the size and scope of Hollywood?

That’s the number of pink slips being handed by Disney to Fox employees now that the merged mega-studio won’t need them anymore. Four. Thousand. Jobs. It’s undoubtedly the largest layoff from a single entertainment company in a generation — maybe ever — a fact that has not been widely discussed in an industry that has no context for this kind of consolidation.

Myself I’ve been trying to think about what it means. I grew up in Ohio, where these were the kind of statistics you used to read when General Motors shut an automotive plant. Or when a tire manufacturer moved overseas and left Youngstown. The kind of thing when Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. But not previously in an industry of movie and television creators.

Also Read: Fox Employees 'Walking on Eggshells' as Heavy Layoffs Continue Under Disney

These are, potentially, 4,000 mortgages. Tuition. Braces. Art classes. Elder care. For some very fortunate it may just be skipping spring break vacation in Hawaii with the kids. But for most of the people involved it’s serious stuff, the existential issue of surviving everyday life.

Many of those fired will not find new employment in the entertainment industry. The jobs are just not there to absorb these kinds of numbers. Even Netflix, as big as it has gotten, is not in a position to take on this much talent if it wanted. (Netflix has added nearly 4,000 full-time jobs in the last three years, going from 3,500 to 7,100 employees, according to Statista. But that is in an environment where traditional entertainment companies have been contracting, from shrinking Sony, Paramount and MGM to the disappearance of Relativity and The Weinstein Company.)

From folks who I’ve spoken to, this wasn’t a big surprise. Job losses were expected from the moment that Disney’s Bob Iger announced that Rupert Murdoch had given up on growing his empire and instead was cashing out at a $71 billion price tag. Some had been quietly departing for new gigs over the last few months. The rest, however, have been waiting in agony to find out their fates.

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