Disney-Themed Charity Event Derailed By Musicians Union’s Demands

The upcoming scheduled live-stream of Celebrating 25 Magical Years Of Disney On Broadway, a multi-million dollar benefit concert featuring the pre-recorded November 2019 performance of a Disney-focused Broadway show, has been cancelled after the musicians’ union refused to grant the charity streaming rights to the performance.
Broadway News reports that the nonprofit organization Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS planned to hold the benefit stream as part of their COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, a new initiative to provide financial assistance to people in the performing arts and entertainment industry amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The pre-recorded charity performance, which was set to stream on Monday, raised nearly $2 million as of Saturday morning, including 15 Broadway producers who were prepared to collectively match donations up to $1 million.
But according to The New York Times, the benefit live-stream will no longer go on as planned. While two unions representing the show’s cast were already in agreement with the charity to allow the live-stream to take place, the American Federation of Musicians, the lone holdout, has derailed the event.
In an email about the event, an executive to the union told Disney that they were treating the musicians like “slaves,” reports the news agency. In an official statement, the American Federation of Musicians blasted Disney Theatrical for refusing to pay the musicians for the rights to air the livestream.
“During the height of this crisis, Disney Theatrical has come to us asking to stream media content without payment to the musicians involved in the production,” said the statement, reports The Times. “Especially now, with zero employment in the entertainment sector, the content producers should care enough about the welfare of those who originally performed the show to see to it that they are fairly compensated when their work is recorded and streamed throughout the world.”
The charity told the news agency that they couldn’t afford to pay the musicians, and argued that they had already donated to musician-related causes. Disney Theatrical has also pushed back against the accusations, saying that the charity Broadway Cares was requesting the rights to stream the show for free, not Disney Theatrical itself.
“Disney wholeheartedly supported the request from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS to AFM to waive fees for this fund-raiser, just as many unions and guilds had happily agreed to do,” Disney Theatrical told The Times. “It’s disappointing that in this case, due to AFM’s decision, much-needed funds will not be raised.”
According to Theatre Mania, the original performance back in November was also a charity benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and featured hits from Disney classics such as Mary Poppins, and newer fare including Aladdin and Frozen.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the American Federation of Musicians took center stage in the public spotlight after they spoke out against the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which furloughed the symphony orchestra after the federal stimulus bill was passed.
The stimulus provided $25 million for the Kennedy Center to pay for maintenance, deep cleaning, and teleworking projects after they cancelled the upcoming concert season. The center, which is federally funded, has since struck a deal with the musicians’ union to continue paying the orchestra amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Disney-Themed Charity Event Derailed By Musicians Union’s Demands Disney-Themed Charity Event Derailed By Musicians Union’s Demands Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on April 12, 2020 Rating: 5

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