Quibi staffers facing reported pay cuts and layoffs are fuming that stars like Reese Witherspoon were paid millions.
Witherspoon was allegedly paid $6 million to narrate the show “Fierce Queens" -- which focuses on females of the animal kingdom -- on the short-form mobile video platform where her husband works. But the show isn’t performing well, and staffers have already been let go, Page Six reported.
“Quibi may have to implement cutbacks, and people are fuming that stars like Reese got paid millions,” the source told Page Six.
Overtime for lower-level staffers has already been cut and Quibi has “quietly let go of others,” the source said.
Quibi said the report was "completely false" and denied laying off staff as part of cost-saving measures in a company memo obtained by FOX Business. The company said in the memo its senior leadership team has "volunteered to take a 10 percent pay cut because it’s the right thing to do."
A rep for Witherspoon did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment.
The streaming app launched on April 6 with 50 movies and TV shows available in "quick bite" chapters (no longer than 10 minutes) amid the coronavirus pandemic. With stay-at-home orders in place due to the outbreak of the virus, demand for the short-form videos fell. Quibi recorded 3.5 million app downloads and 1.3 million active users a month after the launch, lower than what the startup's co-founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg, expected.
“Is it the avalanche of people that we wanted and were going for out of launch?” Katzenberg told the New York Times in May. “The answer is no. It’s not up to what we wanted. It’s not close to what we wanted.”
Quibi is the latest streaming service to compete with YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon's Prime Video in the over-the-top media market, which is estimated to be worth $184 billion by 2027. Stars like Jennifer Lopez, Liam Hemsworth and LeBron James were also hired to make content for the service.
This story has been updated to include comment from Quibi