Disney Lawyer Calls Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit ‘Highly Orchestrated’ PR Stunt

by : Cameron Frew on : 07 Aug 2021 15:02
Disney Lawyer Calls Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit 'Highly Orchestrated' PR StuntDisney/PA Images

A longtime Disney lawyer has spoken out against Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit, branding it a ‘highly orchestrated PR’ stunt.

The Black Widow star recently filed a lawsuit over the House of Mouse’s decision to release the film on Disney+ alongside its theatrical release, believed to have impacted its financial haul and ergo. The lawsuit claims this was in breach of Johansson’s contract, with the actor’s pay ‘largely based’ on its box office performance. Emma Stone is reportedly ‘weighing up’ whether to launch her own lawsuit.


While Kevin Feige has reportedly expressed his support, Disney said the suit shows a ‘callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Black Widow. (Marvel Studios)Marvel Studios

Disney attorney Daniel Petrocelli spoke to Variety about Johansson’s complaint, alleging it to be an attempt at forcing the company’s hand.

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

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

Disney said there’s ‘no merit whatsoever to this filing’, while SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris argued 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’ while also echoing criticism of the ‘gendered tone’ of its fiery statement.

‘It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney+ 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,’ John Berlinski, an attorney representing Johansson, told The Independent.

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Film and TV, Disney, Disney+, Scarlett Johansson


Variety and 1 other
  1. Variety

    Disney Lawyer Daniel Petrocelli Calls ‘Black Widow’ Lawsuit an ‘Orchestrated PR Campaign’

  2. The Independent

    Disney accuses Scarlett Johansson of running ‘highly orchestrated PR campaign’ with Black Widow lawsuit