There’s no question that these are terrifying times we’re living in. We’re doing our best to adapt our personal and professional lives in profound ways to stop the spread of the pandemic by protecting ourselves, our families, our colleagues and strangers. It’s not easy staying hopeful and optimistic as we witness the number of coronavirus cases and deaths accelerating hourly.
We in the entertainment press are covering an industry that continues to struggle with the loss of lives and countless job cuts amid mounting financial losses.
I say it is time to pause for a moment to consider the positive developments that easily get lost in the frenetic, depressing news cycle.
Some of the big media and tech companies have made efforts to ease the business hardships.
With IATSE reporting that up to 95% of its 150,000 members are out of work due to social distancing directives, the union announced an initiative that facilitates volunteer deliveries for at-risk members during the crisis. The recent $2 trillion economic stimulus bill that passed includes entertainment freelance workers. IATSE and its allies had sent more than 100,000 letters to Congress pleading for that
Here’s just a sampling of other noteworthy gestures underway:
WarnerMedia set up a $100 million relief fund for workers impacted by the wide production shutdown across film and television.
Netflix created a $100 million relief fund to help unemployed members of the creative community, including crew members, to earn an income during the shutdown.
Facebook is investing $100 million to support local news organizations during the health crisis on top of its commitment to spend $300 million over a three-year period.
Disney says it will continue paying its hourly theme-park employees through at least April 18 and that Bob Iger is forfeiting his entire salary and CEO Bob Chapek is taking a 50% pay cut.
Here at Variety, our publisher Michelle Sobrino-Stearns announced that she and her business team have set up a COVID-19 relief fund to support entertainment industry organizations, donating a portion of revenue received from TV awards sales toward that effort.
We all must do our part to help those in need.
Meanwhile, please stay safe and healthy!