The media giant is laying off 28,000 employees in response to the pandemic, which has hammered its parks and other lines of business. Josh D’Amaro, Disney's head of parks, experiences and products, announced the layoffs in an email to employees on Tuesday.
Disney shares fell 1.4% in after-hours trading on the news.
The email, cited by CNBC, indicated that 67% of the laid-off workers were part-time employees. The layoffs affected Disney's parks, experiences and consumer products segment, which consists of its theme parks and resorts, cruise lines, vacation programs and other businesses.
“For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity,” wrote D'Amaro.
Disney's parks worldwide have been closed or operating at limited capacity since March, when the company shut them down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its fiscal third quarter, the first to overlap completely with the pandemic, Disney reported an 85% drop in its parks, experiences and products revenue.
COVID-19 has impacted other areas of Disney's business, albeit less drastically. Its media networks revenue fell 2% to $6.56 billion in the third quarter, and studio entertainment revenue fell 55% to $1.74 billion amid delayed movie releases.
Direct-to-consumer and international revenues, which includes Disney+ and Hulu, grew 2% to $3.97 billion.
Disney shares are down 15% year to date.