Scarlett Johansson’s agent has slammed Disney for “shamelessly and falsely” accusing her of “being insensitive” to the COVID-19 pandemic with her lawsuit against the company.
The Black Widow star filed to sue Disney this week as she claimed their decision to release the Marvel movie on Disney+ at the same time as its theatrical release violated the terms of their contract and impacted negatively on her salary.
Following her lawsuit, the media giant accused her of having “callous disregard” for the COVID-19 pandemic, as they argued they only released the movie on the streaming service so that people could watch it from home without the risk of catching or transmitting the virus.
And now, her agent and CAA co-chairman Bryan Lourd has defended the star against Disney, insisting they are trying to “make her appear to be someone they know she isn’t”.
He said in a statement via Deadline: “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 weaponise 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.”
In her original filing, Johansson claimed her salary for Black Widow was tied to how well the movie performed in the box office, and stated that by breaking their contract and putting the film on Disney Plus, Disney have directly impacted her income.
However, Disney later hit back to insist they would be compensating for the lost revenue, said there was “no merit” in Scarlett’s lawsuit.
They said: “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. 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 furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney Plus with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 million she has received to date.”
Black Widow grossed US$80 million in domestic box office opening weekend, as well as another US$78 million overseas and US$60 million from home purchases on the streaming platform.— BANG SHOWBIZ