Disney Blasts Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Callous Disregard’ In Black Widow Lawsuit Backlash

by : Hannah Smith on : 30 Jul 2021 07:40
Disney Blasts Scarlett Johansson's 'Callous Disregard' In Black Widow Lawsuit BacklashDisney/PA Images

Disney has hit back at Scarlett Johansson after the star filed a lawsuit against the entertainment powerhouse for an alleged breach of contract, calling her decision ‘sad and distressing’ in a no-holds-barred statement.

In a court filing, Johansson has claimed she was deprived of potential earnings by Disney’s decision to make Black Widow available on its streaming platform Disney+ at the same time as the long-delayed film was released in cinemas.

Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow (Disney)Disney

Now, the company has returned fire, saying in a statement there was ‘no merit whatsoever to this filing.’ Disney also criticised the context of Johansson’s lawsuit, saying the decision showed ‘callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.’

As a result of pandemic restrictions over the past year, Disney has joined several other studios in switching to home streaming releases, with films including Black Widow and Cruella made available to subscribers at an extra cost.

Black Widow released simultaneously on Disney+ (PA Images)PA Images

Johansson is alleging that the decision to release Black Widow on Disney+ simultaneously had cost her around $50 million in box-office-dependent earning, however, Disney has pushed back on the claims, saying in their statement the Avengers star had already earned $20 million from the film, arguing ‘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.’

Speaking to Variety, Johansson’s lawyer rejected Disney’s attack, saying ‘it’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney Plus to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price — and that it’s hiding behind COVID-19 as a pretext to do so.

‘This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney.’

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: Film and TV, Black Widow, Disney, Disney+, Film, Lawsuit, Scarlett Johansson


  1. Variety

    Disney Fires Back at Scarlett Johansson, Calls ‘Black Widow’ Lawsuit ‘Sad and Distressing'