Scarlett Johansson’s decision to take legal action against Disney for breach of contract following the decision to send Black Widow to Disney Plus Premier Access without renegotiating the terms of her deal managed to both drop a bomb on the industry and open a massive can of worms at the same time.
In the days since the story first broke, Disney offered a scathing rebuttal that shocked the star’s representatives, while further tales have outlined that she didn’t even want to file a lawsuit in the first place but felt compelled after the Mouse House had ignored her agent’s attempts to resolve the situation behind closed doors.
It’s not a good look for the company, especially when an A-lister is at the eye of the storm, and while 99% of people would be thrilled to go home with a $20 million paycheck, it’s a matter of principle. Disney CEO Bob Chapek is said to have been shocked that Johansson actually followed through with the suit, and his predecessor Bob Iger is apparently mortified at how the entire matter has been handled in the public eye, as detailed in a new report.
“I talked with a half-dozen executives familiar with Disney and its culture. It seems that Iger either intentionally allowed Chapek to shoot himself in the foot with Johansson’s team by failing to step in and negotiate an alternative to a lawsuit, or that he is so disconnected from his successor that he was not in the loop to step in as he usually would.”
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On one hand, it isn’t Iger’s job anymore to step in and resolve matters like the Black Widow debacle, but he held a reputation for having strong relationships with all of Disney’s biggest names on either side of the camera. Chapek is much more of a businessman, one who probably couldn’t have foreseen one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s longest-tenured stars doing the unthinkable and suing the company, so maybe he just hoped the whole thing would blow over eventually, as opposed to potentially causing a huge domino effect.