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SOPA Images

Just days after Walt Disney Co. officially finalized its acquisition of most of 21st Century's entertainment assets, layoffs have begun at Fox properties, The Los Angeles Times reports. Roughly 3,000 layoffs are expected.

Why it matters: This is a big shakeup amid an already tumultuous time in Hollywood. Disney purchased Fox assets — much like AT&T purchased Time Warner last year — in an effort to compete with entertainment tech giants like Netflix and Amazon.

Details: Initial cuts began Thursday, according to the LA Times. Roughly 2 dozen people were let go, most from high-level positions at 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles

The big picture: Disney is inheriting several of 21st Century Fox's entertainment properties, including 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox cable channels including FX and National Geographic, and Fox's 30% stake in Hulu.

  • It will be terminating Fox 2000, a movie label under the 21st Century Fox umbrella, Variety reported earlier on Thursday.
  • Disney also announced Thursday evening its senior film leadership team following the close of the acquisition.

The job cuts are particularly interesting in the context of another ongoing story. Currently, Democrats have asked the Justice Department to probe the White House for possibly interfering in media mergers, like this one and the one between AT&T and Time Warner.

  • In the letter to the Attorney General obtained by Axios two weeks ago, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) asked the DOJ to investigate whether Trump had made "formal or informal inquiries encouraging the Department of Justice to approve or expedite the Disney/Fox merger."
  • As Axios has previously reported, the White House wouldn't say whether Trump explicitly supported the Disney-Fox deal, but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders did say he thinks it would be "a great thing for jobs."

Be smart: Synergies are expected when companies this big — with similar businesses — merge, but reports suggest that employees were surprised by the scope and how quickly it was happening. Disney said on an investor call in late 2017 that it anticipated $2 billion in "cost synergies" by 2021 related to the merger, which often means layoffs.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."

Big Tech's post-riot reckoning

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Capitol insurrection means the anti-tech talk in Washington is more likely to lead to action, since it's ever clearer that the attack was planned, at least in part, on social media.

Why it matters: The big platforms may have hoped they'd move to D.C.'s back burner, with the Hill focused on the Biden agenda and the pandemic out of control. But now, there'll be no escaping harsh scrutiny.

25 mins ago - Technology

Why domestic terrorists are so hard to police online

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Domestic terrorism has proven to be more difficult for Big Tech companies to police online than foreign terrorism.

The big picture: That's largely because the politics are harder. There's more unity around the need to go after foreign extremists than domestic ones — and less danger of overreaching and provoking a backlash.

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