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Quibi staffers 'outraged' Reese Witherspoon was paid $6 million for series while they face-layoffs'

Employees at Quibi are upset actress Reese Witherspoon was paid $6 million for narrating a show about female animals as the struggling video platform faces possible layoffs after its ill-timed launch during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The star's voice is featured on Fierce Animals, a wildlife program produced by the BBC's natural history unit that highlights female animals, has not done well for Quibi, leaving staffers upset by the amount of money invested in stars like Witherspoon to launch the service on April 6.

Quibi, which features short productions geared toward viewers on mobile devices, invested $2.75 billion for programming to attract top talent, but has struggled to attract viewers.

Employees at Quibi are upset actress Reese Witherspoon was paid $6 million for narrating a show about female animals as the struggling video platform faces possible layoffs after launch during the coronavirus pandemic. Witherspoon is pictured at an Oscar party in February

Witherspoon's voice is featured on Fierce Animals, a wildlife program produced by the BBC's natural history unit that highlights female animals. An image of ape from the program is pictured from Witherspoon's Instagram page

A spider from the program 'Fierce Animals,' is pictured from an image on Witherspoon's Instagram page

A cheetah from 'Fierce Animals,' is pictured from a post on Witherspoon's Instagram page

An antelope from the program is pictured in an image posted on Instagram by Witherspoon

'Quibi may have to implement cutbacks, and people are fuming that stars like Reese got paid millions,' a source told the New York Post's Page Six.

The service was founded by film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, who came up with the idea for the app as YouTube and streaming video content became popular, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman. 

Also involved is Witherspoon's husband Jim Toth, who left talent agency CAA after nearly a quarter century to serve as Quibi's Head of content and talent.

Quibi features short but high quality content from big name stars and directors. Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Lopez, LeBron James and Chance the Rapper are among several high-profile producers.

The shows on the platform include a Judge Judy-style series starring Chrissy Tiegen and one in which Chris Hemsworth plays a terminally-ill man. Spielberg is also working on a fright program that is being billed as a series that can only be watched at night.

Users, however, criticized the mobile-only service because they wanted to watch the content on big screens in their homes during the coronavirus lock-down and could not. 

Quibi was co-founded by film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg (left), who came up with the idea for the app as YouTube and streaming video content became popular, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman (right)

The shows on the platform include a Judge Judy-style series starring Chrissy Tiegen (pictured) and one in which Chris Hemsworth plays a terminally-ill man. Spielberg is also working on a fright program that is being billed as a series that can only be watched at night

Quibi as a result has struggled to attract viewers. The platform already has cut overtime for some employees, the source tells the New York Post, and adds that some staffers also were dismissed from the company.

'The mood is dark' the source said, as free 90-day trials that helped launch the service will soon end.  

Quibi, while flagged as an 'editor's choice,' in Apple's app store, no longer appears within the tech company's top 200 apps. Sensor Tower lists it at 1000, the Post reports. 

Users have criticized the mobile-only service because they wanted to watch the content on big screens in their homes during the coronavirus lock-down and could not.

A Twitter user who goes by @CherHorowitz05 complained about the app being only for phones saying, 'Is this s--t for real? I don't even want it for free now'

The costs for subscribing to Quibi are $4.99 with ads and $7.99 without, which are competitive with rivals Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. But those services are available on both mobile devices and smart televisions. 

Amid the company's struggles, Katzenbergh in early May hit out at comparisons to the highly successful TikTok after a disappointing 2.9million downloads since its Quibi launched.

'That's like comparing apples to submarines,' Katzenberg, 69, told the New York Times.

'I don't know what people are expecting from us. What did Netflix look like 30 days after it launched? To tell me about a company that has a billion users and is doing great in the past six weeks, I'm happy for them, but what the hell does it have to do with me?'

Amid the Quibi's struggles, Katzenbergh in early May hit out at comparisons to the highly successful TikTok after a disappointing 2.9million downloads since its Quibi launched. Katzenbergh is pictured demonstrating the the app at Sundance 2020 earlier this year

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