Deadline has reported that following reports yesterday of Scarlett Johansson suing The Walt Disney Company and the company’s response, Johansson’s agent Bryan Lourd has now called out Disney.  

(Marvel Studios)

(Marvel Studios)

What’s Happening:

  • Scarlett Johansson’s agent, Bryan Lourd, has responded to The Walt Disney Company’s statement after the initial report that Johansson was suing the company for the way Black Widow was released. He states that the company has falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive during the pandemic.
  • Yesterday it was reported that Johansson was suing The Walt Disney Company over the decision to release Black Widow in theaters and on Disney+ simultaneously, saying the decision was a breach of contract.
  • According to the film’s star, her contract with Disney guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release and her payment was based in large part on the box-office earnings of the film.
  • Releasing the film on Disney+ with Premier Access in addition to its theatrical release is projected to have cost Johansson more than $50 million, according to a person familiar with the details of her contract.
  • You can check out the breach of contract lawsuit here.

The Walt Disney Company Responds:

  • After the initial report, The Walt Disney Company responded to Johansson’s lawsuit with the following statement shared by Deadline from a Disney spokesperson:
    • “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+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”

Johansson’s Agent Responds to Disney:

  • Following Disney’s statement, Johansson’s agent, Bryan Lourd, co-chairman of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), has released his own statement responding to The Walt Disney Company as reported by Deadline.
  • The statement says that Disney is attempting to make Johansson appear to be someone she is not after they have violated her contract and that this is beneath the company that many have successfully worked with in the past.

Below is the statement from Lourd:

“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.”

As this legal battle continues, we will wait to see what this means for the future of Disney+ Premier Access and if others will come out for previous films that were sent to the service like Cruella and Jungle Cruise.

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