Disney Fired Beijing Staff Just Before GOP China Hawk Questioned CEO: Report

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September 22, 2023

Disney fired hundreds of employees in China earlier this year, days before CEO Bob Iger was scheduled to meet with Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.), chairman of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

The company laid off more than 300 employees in Beijing in March, one week ahead of the meeting, the Wall Street Journal reported. Heads of Disney anticipated questions on data security given the company's use of Chinese staffers who had access to some U.S. consumer data, according to the Journal.

Gallagher has long pushed companies to lessen their reliance and cooperation with the communist Chinese government, the Journal reported:

Gallagher is among the members of Congress who have voiced concerns that China’s government could use its leverage, especially in the tech and media industries, to strengthen its military capabilities, access Americans’ user data and influence U.S. pop culture by forcing entertainment companies to self-censor in a way that helps burnish the country’s global image.

In January, the Wisconsin Republican said he wanted top executives from Silicon Valley, Hollywood and professional sports leagues, including Iger, to testify before the committee he oversees.

The report comes the same week Gallagher warned that spy operations by the Chinese government on American soil have sky-rocketed under President Joe Biden.