Josh Gad has a big platform, thanks in part to his starring roles in Disney’s Frozen franchise, in which he voices affable snowman Olaf, and in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. Now he’s using it to give back to Disney employees in need of help.
Gad announced Wednesday that he’s donating to the thousands of Disney employees who’ve lost their jobs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He asked others who could do so to do the same, and linked to a Facebook group called Cast Member Pantry, established to help those affected to feed their families in a time of economic hardship. They regularly provide essentials, such as canned veggies, peanut butter and pasta, to former cast members — that’s what Disney calls its workers — who need it.
Gad’s actions came one day after Disney Parks made the latest cuts in the 28,000 layoffs that company officials announced in September that they would make in response to COVID-19. The job losses touched even actors in high-profile shows at the parks, centered on The Lion King and Finding Nemo, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Theme parks worldwide have been deeply affected economically, having to shut down in March and, in cases where they’ve since reopened, limit crowds. Most of Disneyland Resort, including the main theme park and Disney California Adventure, remain closed. The prime attractions at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort welcomed back guests beginning in July.
Gad’s support was big news for cast members in the social media group. They applauded the actor and thanked him for calling attention to the cause. At least one person wrote that his post brought the good works to her attention.
In the days leading up to the U.S. presidential election, Gad has also used his large social media following — more than 617,000 on Twitter, as of Thursday — to advocate for voting in Tuesday’s national election. He’s a fervent supporter of former Vice President Joe Biden.
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