The hunt for cash continues at Warner Bros. Following the Discovery and Warner Bros. merger, the new CEO was looking to cut $3 billion from costs. That’s a lot of money. That sort of money could keep Shawn in exploitation DVDs and Boba Phil in teabags for quite a few years.
On Tuesday morning many people at Warner Bros. Discovery would have received the tap on the shoulder in the office and asked to go up to HR for a quick chat, only to return to their deals to find their stuff packed in a box and their company cell phone cut off. A series of layoffs and budget cuts was announced, particularly in the Warner Bros. Television Group.
The division is to reduce its workforce by 26%. First wave is 125 positions going across business affairs, production and creative. Also on the chopping block is the long-running writers and directors training programs at Warner Bros.
Here Warner Bros. fiduciary duty to its shareholders runs face first directly into the twin shibboleths of Hollywood – Diversity & Inclusivity.
These workshops were often held up as creators of “important” opportunities for “diverse talent” to have a “gateway” into “important industry opportunities” in the directing and writing “space”. I am very close to completing my bullshit bingo card here.
Not so fast, Warner Bros Discovery! You can’t just go and make financial decision here as is required to ensure the ongoing viability of your business. You need to think about the feels.
A backlash has built across he worth of Tinseltown. Even the exalted Directors Guild of America has issued a statement saying they will:
“…not stand idly by while WB/Discovery seeks to roll back decades of advancement for women and directors of color.”
The correct answer here would be to respond firmly that this is not a decision for the Guild or the wider wokerati, but for commercial realists representing shareholders. Of course, this is Hollywood, so they have caved. The Writers Workshop and Directors Workshop function will transfer across to the the group’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion unit.
There is a chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Asif Sadiq, and he will now have oversight of the activity.
Shareholders? You can just be happy that the costs continue to be born by the company you own… I guess.