The star of Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson is reportedly "shocked" by the tone of Disney's rather scathing response to her recent lawsuit against the studio over loss of earnings caused by the release of Black Widow to Disney+. Johansson's team revealed that the Marvel star is "shocked by the tone" of Disney's response to the lawsuit, which the studio described as having "no merit whatsoever."
The Black Widow lawsuit, which was recently filed against Disney and Marvel in Los Angeles Superior Court, in part states that "Disney intentionally induced Marvel's breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel. It's no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney+ to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company's stock price - and that it's hiding behind Covid-19 as a pretext to do so." Essentially, Johansson is claiming that, due to the change in Black Widow's release strategy, she has lost out on a substantial amount of money on the backend, with the box office being negatively affected by the Disney+ availability.
Disney soon fired back, accusing Johansson of disregarding the affect caused by the current circumstances. "The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic," reads Disney's statement. The studio "fully complied with Ms. Johansson's contract," the response continues, adding "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."
This was quickly met with a response from Johansson's talent agency, with Bryan Lourd, the co-chairman of the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), releasing a statement, and accusing Disney of mischaracterizing Johansson as being insensitive to the ongoing issue. "They have shamelessly and falsely accused 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. ... 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," Lourd's statement reads.
Multiple insiders have since expressed their bewilderment at the dispute being allowed to be made quite so public, with some now blaming Disney CEO Bob Chapek for the "carnage" to the company's standing in Hollywood's talent community. "Disney's approach under Iger would have been markedly different," one lawyer has reportedly said.
This situation has already gotten quite messy, with shots being fired every day from both sides. The legal tit for tat is unlikely to end anytime soon, with other prominent stars including Emma Stone and Emily Blunt also rumored to be considering similar legal action against the House of Mouse. Really, it's no wonder that Scarlett Johansson is shocked with the studio's approach, with the actress no doubt expecting an amicable resolution, especially considering how long she has been a part of the MCU for.
No doubt there will be much more to come in the Johansson versus Disney saga. This comes to us courtesy of The Wrap.