Disney Calls Scarlett Johansson’s Lawsuit A PR Campaign, But SAG President Gabrielle Carteris Disagrees

August 9, 2021 / Posted by:

Last month, Scarlett Johansson filed a breach of contract lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company, accusing them of breaking her Black Widow release contract when they made the film available for streaming on Disney+ Premium Access on the exact same day as the film hit theaters. Disney originally responded to Scarlett’s lawsuit by calling her greedy and being selfish during a pandemic. Now, they’re accusing her of filing the lawsuit just to get a whole heap of attention for herself. However, Gabrielle Carteris, who is the current President of SAG-AFTRA, aka the actors union that represents Scarlett, has fired back on Scarlett’s behalf, accusing Disney of gender shaming and bullying with their responses.

Scarlett alleges that the contract she signed with Disney regarding the release of Black Widow guaranteed her a theatrical release, and only a theatrical release. It also allegedly stated that if the film hot certain box office benchmarks, then Scarlett would be rewarded with bonuses. She claimed in her lawsuit that by dropping the film on a streaming service on the same day as the theatrical premiere, Disney jeopardized the money she could have made from the film. She also claimed that when it was announced back in March that Black Widow would be simultaneously premiering on Disney+, that Disney had plenty of time to rework and re-negotiate Scarlett’s contract, but they didn’t.

After Disney hissed back, and added that she’ll still make some extra money from streaming, many groups, like Time’s Up, called Disney’s response sexist and demeaning. Disney possibly heard the criticisms and realized it wasn’t a great look in 2021 to sound like Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock, with the implication that a better woman would shut up and be happy with the money she’s got. Which is maybe why they have changed their angle from “She’s greedy and selfish” to “She’s doing this for attention.” Glad to see the element of heavy-handed sexism is still there. via Variety:

Longtime Disney attorney Daniel Petrocelli told Variety that the demands in Johansson’s litigation are far out of the bounds of the actor’s contract with the studio. He characterized it as an attempt to force Disney to write a check that backfired.

“It is obvious that this is a highly orchestrated PR campaign to achieve an outcome that is not obtainable in the lawsuit,” Petrocelli said. “No amount of public pressure can change or obscure the explicit contractual commitments. The written contract is clear as a bell.”

So essentially, according to Disney’s attorney, Scarlett allegedly knows she can’t actually get any extra cash from Disney through her lawsuit, but by filing the lawsuit, she’s making it a huge public thing, and is hoping that an embarrassed Disney will be pressured enough to cut her a check and make it all go away.

Gabrielle Carteris jumped in with the union perspective and she believes that Disney is playing dirty. Not to mention, setting a very gross tone with their targeted statements. via Deadline:

“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.”

She added: “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.”

Streaming compensation is a hot SAG-AFTRA topic right now. Fran Drescher is currently running for President of SAG-AFTRA to success Gabrielle, and one of Fran’s biggest campaign platforms is fair compensation and proper contracts for performers in regards to streaming projects and work.

As of right now, Black Widow has made nearly $360 million worldwide against a reported budget of $200 million.

Scarlett hasn’t said anything regarding how messy this situation has gotten, aside from what was said in her lawsuit. But Disney keeps talking and keeps sticking their foot in it. And I expect their next statement to be: “Like honestly, the movie didn’t make a ton of money because she’s not hot enough maybe?? IDK.

Pics: Wenn.com/FayesVision

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