The looming layoffs at Disney have finally started claiming several big names in the upper echelon at ESPN and other places in the Disney corporation.
The developing story of Disney’s cuts has been hanging over the heads of trembling employees for several months already since the notice of coming layoffs of as many as 7,000 employees was floated back in March.
The ax fell briefly late in March when the first round hit. At that time, top execs, including senior vp production at Freeform/Onyx Collective Jayne Bieber, head of production and postproduction at Hulu Mark Levenstein, and Elizabeth Newman, head of Disney’s acquisitions department, were all handed their walking papers.
But this month, round two of the cuts began.
First to make news was the end of the road for political pollster Nate Silver, who started his high-profile career as a sports odds writer before graduating to political pollster and commentator for the Disney-owned FiveThirtyEight blog. Silver told fans on Tuesday that he was done at the Disney-owned blog.
And now, a pair of highly placed ESPN bosses have also been axed, according to Front Office Sports.
Peter Gianesini, ESPN’s senior director of digital audio programming, left a 25-year career with ESPN behind on Tuesday when he was fingered as one of those to be cut.
Also, ESPN Vice President of Corporate Communications Mike Soltys, whose Twitter handle is even “@espnmikes, was let go after an amazingly long 43 years.
Former ESPN colleague Howie Schwab was particularly tweaked about Solty’s exit.
“What makes me upset about Mike Soltys being laid off is twofold. After 43 years of loyalty, he couldn’t leave on his own terms. Second, he is going through a lot with his wife having cancer. Cruel business world now,” he tweeted.
What makes me upset about Mike Soltys being laid off is twofold. After 43 years of loyalty, he couldn’t leave on his own terms. Second, he is going through a lot with his wife having cancer. Cruel business world now.
— Howie Schwab (@howieschwab) April 24, 2023
It does not look like Disney is done wielding the ax, either. According to FOS, ESPN’s on-air talent will be next on the chopping block come summer.
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