Johansson claimed that the simultaneous release of the “Black Widow” both on Disney Plus and in theaters breached their contract, therefore she sued the company that made the film.
In a bombshell turn of events, Johansson filed a lawsuit alleging that the studio breached her contract when it released “Black Widow” simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+, a move she claims potentially cost her as much as $50 million. In response, a Disney spokesperson said,
“The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and the release of “Black Widow” on Disney+ with Premiere Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”
The statement didn’t sit well with WIF, ReFrame, and Time’s Up. In the joint statement, the organizations steer clear of taking a position “on the business issues in the litigation,” instead zeroing in on comments about the pandemic and her salary.
“While we take no position on the business issues in the litigation between Scarlett Johansson and the Walt Disney Company, we stand firmly against Disney’s recent statement which attempts to characterize Johansson as insensitive or selfish for defending her contractual business rights,” the statement said, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
“This gendered character attack has no place in a business dispute and contributes to an environment in which women and girls are perceived as less able than men to protect their own interests without facing ad hominem criticism.”
Disney’s statement prompted a response from Bryan Lourd, co-chairman of the Creative Arts Agency and Johansson’s agent, who made a similar observation as Time’s Up, Women in Film and ReFrame, saying Disney’s response was not only a “direct attack on her character,” but “beneath the company that many of us in the creative community have worked with successfully for decades.”
“Scarlett has been Disney’s partner on nine movies, which have earned Disney and its shareholders billions. The 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,” Lourd said.
“Scarlett is extremely proud of the work that she and all of the actors, writers, directors, producers and the Marvel creative team have been a part of for well over a decade.”
“Black Widow”, which was shot in Budapest, is currently available to watch in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access.