The battle between Scarlett Johansson and Disney is far from over, and while there’s been an air of mud-slinging over the accusations being tossed back and forth, the various reports to emanate in the aftermath have painted a fairly clear picture of what exactly is going on.
The actress believes she’s entitled to further remuneration after Black Widow was awarded a Disney Plus Premier Access release, causing her to miss out on performance-related bonuses that could reach as high as $50 million. The Mouse House offered a rebuttal and in effect called the two-time Academy Award nominee greedy by publicly revealing she’d already taken home $20 million from the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster.
It’s all a matter of principle of course, and the finger of blame is being pointed at Disney CEO Bob Chapek, with both his predecessor Bob Iger and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said to be dismayed over the whole situation. The Screen Actors Guild has now weighed in, with SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris offering her scathing assessment on the standoff, which you can read below.
“Disney should be ashamed of themselves for resorting to tired tactics of gender-shaming and bullying. Actors must be compensated for their work according to their contracts. Scarlett Johansson is shining a white-hot spotlight on the improper shifts in compensation that companies are attempting to slip by talent as distribution models change. Nobody in any field of work should fall victim to surprise reductions in expected compensation. It is unreasonable and unjust. Disney and other content companies are doing very well and can certainly live up to their obligations to compensate the performers whose art and artistry are responsible for the corporation’s profits.
Additionally, we are deeply concerned by the gendered tone of Disney’s criticism of Ms. Johansson. Women are not ‘callous’ when they stand up and fight for fair pay, they are leaders and champions for economic justice. Women have been victimized by pay inequity for decades, and they have been further victimized by comments like those in Disney’s press statements. These sorts of attacks have no place in our society and SAG-AFTRA will continue to defend our members from all forms of bias.”
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It’s going to be interesting to see how this all pans out in the end, and what sort of domino effect it could have on talent all across Hollywood, as well as the streaming model in general. Platforms like Netflix and AppleTV+ are increasingly paying top dollar out of the gate so these disagreements don’t arise, as evidenced by the recent $200 million deal made by the latter for only the first installment of Matthew Vaughn’s planned Argylle franchise, but the Black Widow battle is far from over, and Johansson isn’t going to go down without a fight until she gets what she feels is fair compensation.