Scarlett Johansson Responds to Disney’s Backlash Over ‘Black Widow’ Lawsuit. To quickly sum up the dramatic events from this last week, Marvel Star Scarlett Johannson has filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company for a breach of contract regarding her role in Marvel Studios’ Black Widow.
Per Scarlett Johansson’s contract, a portion stated that the film would have a theater-exclusive initial release, meaning the movie would premiere in theaters and potentially premiere on other platforms at a later date. It is no secret that the film was released simultaneously in theaters and via Disney+ Premier Access (D+PA), and though Johansson will still make earnings on the D+PA release, her contract was never renegotiated despite her legal team and representatives had reached out to Disney throughout the pandemic regarding the release of the film when the world was adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the alleged offer to renegotiate, Disney reportedly never responded to Scarlett’s team or offered the chance to renegotiate her contract before announcing and implementing the film’s revised premiere plans. Standing up for herself, Scarlett and her team have chosen to sue Disney over the breach of contract, citing the terms of her contract were broken despite her willingness to renegotiate and being stonewalled by the company through the pandemic.
Disney’s statement/response to the lawsuit was as follows: “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. [The studio] fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract. The release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”
Johansson’s agent and CAA co-chairman Bryan Lourd released a passionate statement calling Disney out for the blatant attack on Scarlett’s character, saying on the actresses behalf, “[Disney is] shamelessly and falsely accus[ing] Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t.”
Further digging into the statement shared by TWDC, “[The Walt Disney Company] included her salary in their press statement in an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman, as if that were something she should be ashamed of as a result of Disney’s decision to knowingly violate Scarlett’s contract.”
Adding, “They have very deliberately moved the revenue stream and profits to the Disney+ side of the company leaving artistic and financial partners out of their new equation… Disney’s direct attack on her character and all else they implied is beneath the company that many of us in the creative community have worked with successfully for decades.”
This is a developing story, so be sure to check back here at Chip and Company for all things Marvel and Disney!
Featured Photo Credit: Marvel Studios
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