On Thursday afternoon, Scarlett Johansson filed what is shaping up to be a monumental lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company for allegedly breaching her contract by releasing Black Widow on Disney+ at the same time it hits theaters. At issue is Disney’s contractual obligation to pay Johansson a percentage of Black Widow‘s theatrical haul, which was negatively impacted by the simultaneous streaming release. According to Johansson’s lawsuit, Disney allegedly failed to negotiate a compromise before pushing Black Widow onto Disney+.
The lawsuit triggered a response from Disney, which fired back at Johansson in a statement, and now, her talent agency, CAA, is getting involved in making this an all-out war in the press. In a fiery retort, CAA co-chairman Bryan Lourd blasted Disney for accusing Johansson of being “insensitive” to the pandemic and airing her salary in an attempt to allegedly “weaponize her success.” Via Variety:
“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,” Lourd said.
Lourd went on to note that Johansson has appeared in nine Disney and Marvel movies, which he said have earned the company billions of dollars in ticket sales.
“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,” Lourd added.
Lourd is reacting to Disney’s statement (to The Hollywood Reporter), in which Disney declared that Johansson’s lawsuit “has no merit whatsoever” before suggesting that she didn’t care about the pandemic.
“The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Disney said.