Disney Accused Of ‘Gender-Shaming And Bullying’ Over Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit

by : Julia Banim on : 09 Aug 2021 16:02
Disney Accused Of ‘Gender-Shaming And Bullying’ Over Scarlett Johansson LawsuitPA/Disney

Disney has been accused of ‘gender-shaming and bullying’ after it came to light that actor Scarlett Johansson was suing the studio.

It recently emerged that the 36-year-old actor has filed a lawsuit against the entertainment giant, following an alleged breach of contract over the streaming release of Marvel movie Black Widow.


Johansson, who stars as Natasha Romanoff in the recent superhero film, has taken issue with the fact that Black Widow was made available to stream via Disney+ at the same time as its cinematic release.

Scarlett Johansson at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards (PA Images)PA Images

According to Johansson, this decision proved damaging to her salary, with a large part of her earnings being reliant on the box office performance of the movie, which was seen to fall by 67% after the close of the opening weekend.

In a statement addressing the lawsuit, Disney claimed there was ‘no merit whatsoever’ to the filing, which it described as ‘especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic’.


In this statement, Disney claims that it has ‘fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract’, stating that Black Widow’s release on Disney+ with Premier Access had in fact ‘significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 [million] she has received to date’.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris has now criticised Disney in the aftermath of this statement, remarking that the studio should be ‘ashamed of themselves for resorting to tired tactics of gender-shaming and bullying’.

The 60-year-old actor and trade union leader stated that actors ‘must be compensated for their work according to their contracts’, describing Johansson as having shone ‘a white-hot spotlight on the improper shifts in compensation that companies are attempting to slip by talent as distribution models change’.


Carteris proceeded to remark upon the ‘gendered tone’ of Disney’s comments, a tone which she has found to be concerning:

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.

Globally, Black Widow made just under $350 million in cinema ticket sales, a figure which ranks among the lowest of any Marvel movie to date.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Celebrity, Black Widow, Disney, Lawsuit, no-article-matching, Now, Scarlett Johansson



    Statement From SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris on Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit