It’s all going down between Scarlett Johansson and Disney. Despite the star and the studio’s long-term creative partnership, things have suddenly turned sour between the two parties this week as the Avengers actress has filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company. She’s suing the Mouse House over the decision to release Black Widow simultaneously on streaming, which allegedly broke a stipulation in her contract and significantly reduced her salary, based in large part on BW‘s box office gross.
After a brief radio silence, Disney soon responded in kind, blasting the actress for what they called her “callous disregard” for the COVID-19 outbreak, which they say was their only reason for dropping BW on Disney Plus. In the company’s statement, they also outed Johansson’s upfront salary of $20 million. heavily hinting that she’s being greedy for wanting any more than that.
The feud is now continuing with Johansson’s agent Bryan Lourd releasing his own lengthy statement in which he slams the studio for their, what he calls, shameless and false accusations against his client. Lourd re-emphasized the suit’s claims that Disney “knowingly violated” their agreement with Johansson and their conduct is “beneath” the company that is generally known to have a positive working relationship with its creative partners.
Read Lourd’s full statement below:
I want to address the Walt Disney Company’s statement that was issued in response to the lawsuit filed against them yesterday by our client Scarlett Johansson. 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.
“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. 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.
This suit was filed as a result of Disney’s decision to knowingly violate Scarlett’s contract. 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. That’s it, pure and simple.
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.”
Johansson’s lawsuit is the first of its kind. Over the past year, many creatives have hit back against the movie studios that employ them for releasing their productions on streaming instead of/alongside theatrical runs without their consent. However, the two-time Oscar nominee is the first to take her grievances to court. And if the claims that Disney breached her contract are accurate, then she has a strong case against them. This could end up being a landmark moment in the industry.
Stay tuned for more as the Scarlett Johansson V Disney situation develops.