Coronavirus Updates: Top Comcast, NBCUniversal Executives Donate Salaries; Disney Donates Masks, Furloughs Film Crews

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic wears on, the economic effects of social distancing and industry-wide shutdowns of Hollywood productions across the world are being heavily felt. But everyone from companies, to celebrities, to top executives are pitching in to lessen the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Former and current Disney CEOs Bob Iger and Bob Chapek helped set an example recently by foregoing all and part of their salaries, respectively, and top executives in other multimedia companies are following in their footsteps, with top Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky executives donating their salaries to help coronavirus relief efforts. Meanwhile, massive company that Disney is, the House of Mouse continues to stay in the headlines by donating masks and furloughing workers.

Top Comcast, NBCUniversal, Sky Executives Donate Salaries

Comcast chief Brian Roberts, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh, Comcast Cable chief Dave Watson and Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch are donating their salaries to coronavirus relief efforts, according to a memo to Comcast staff obtained by Variety. The memo states that Comcast will also be committing $500 million to pay and benefits for employees who have been affected by shutdowns.

“Across our businesses, we have committed $500 million to support our employees through continued pay and benefits where operations have been paused or impacted, and we have committed significant resources to support our customers,” Roberts wrote. “Additionally, effective today, and for the duration of this situation, our senior leaders, Mike Cavanagh, Dave Watson, Jeff Shell, Jeremy Darroch and I have chosen to donate 100% of our salaries to charities that support COVID-19 relief efforts. We hope in some small way we can make this time easier on our employees, our local communities and our customers.”

The gesture from Comcast comes after Disney’s Iger and Chapek forewent their respective salaries, and amid criticisms against top executives of multibillion dollar companies that lower-income employees were bearing the brunt of the economic downturn in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Disney Parks Donates N95 Masks to Hospitals

The Walt Disney Company, which has been receiving the lion’s share of criticism because of its sheer amount of employees across the world, is continuing to contribute to coronavirus relief efforts. This time, Disney Parks has donated more than 100,000 N95 masks to medical professionals on the frontlines of coronavirus treatment in New York, California and Florida, according to the parks’ official blog.

Disney has also donated more than 150,000 rain ponchos to the humanitarian aid organization MedShare for distribution to hospitals, the blog said.

Disney Furloughs ‘The Little Mermaid’ Crew

While film productions have shut down across the globe, Disney has moved to retain the crew working on the U.K.-based production of The Little Mermaid, after previously firing them. Deadline reports that Disney has furloughed The Little Mermaid crew, using the U.K.’s Job Retention Scheme, which will allow crew members to receive 80% of salary up to a maximum of £2,500 ($3,100) per month.

The staff had previously been handed termination notices on March 20, which were recently rescinded by executive producer Jeff Silver and unit production manager Russell Allen, according to Deadline. Crew will be paid in full until April 3 — the original planned day for the shutdown to lift — and the furlough will last until the end of May, or when shooting resumes. The furlough follows the U.K government confirmation that all staff laid off after February 28 will be eligible for state-backed furlough if rehired by their employers.

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