Johansson is suing the studio (Picture: Marvel)
Disney has been accused of a ‘gendered attack’ on Scarlett Johansson, after the actress sued the Mouse House for releasing Black Widow on its streaming service as well as in cinemas.
Earlier this week, Johansson, 36, filed a lawsuit against Disney, claiming the company breached her contract by releasing the Marvel movie simultaneously on Disney Plus and in theatres, a move she alleges diluted her salary as her bonuses were hinged on box office performance.
Disney responded, with a spokesperson accusing Johansson of having ‘callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic’.
They also outed Johansson’s base salary of $20million (£14.3m) in the statement.
Now, a number of women’s groups including Time’s Up have hit out at Disney, accusing the company’s statement of characterising the actress as insensitive.
A joint statement from Women In Film, ReFrame and Time’s Up read: ‘While we take no position on the business issues in the litigation between Scarlett Johansson and The Walt Disney Company, we stand firmly against Disney’s recent statement which attempts to characterise Johansson as insensitive or selfish for defending her contractual business rights.
‘This gendered character attack has no place in a business dispute and contributes to an environment in which women and girls are perceived as less able than men to protect their own interests without facing ad hominem criticism.’
A spokesperson for Disney had 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+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.’
The statement sparked a rare response from Johansson’s agent and CAA co-chairman Bryan Lourd, who accused Disney of ‘shamelessly and falsely’ accusing the star ‘of being insensitive to the global Covid pandemic’.
Lourd said: ‘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.
Emma Stone is reportedly weighing her options (Picture: Disney)
‘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.’
It is expected that the lawsuit could be a landmark move in Hollywood if Johansson’s filing is successful.
It has already been reported that Emma Stone is ‘said to be weighing her options’ in regards to suing Disney over Cruella’s dual release, while former The Hollywood Reporter editor Matt Belloni said in his newsletter What I’m Hearing… that Emily Blunt could also speak out after the release of Jungle Cruise.
Disney has released a number of films on Disney Plus’s Premier Access platform, which costs subscribers extra, including Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon.