Time’s Up and other groups have accused Disney of making a “gendered attack” on Scarlett Johansson after she filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging breach of contract.
In its response to the actor’s lawsuit, Disney revealed the star’s Black Widow salary and called the complaint “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
In a joint statement, Time’s Up, Women In Film and ReFrame criticised the studio. “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,” the statement read.
“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.”
— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) July 30, 2021
Johansson claims that the simultaneous release of Black Widow on streaming service Disney+ as well as in cinemas is violating her contract. Marvel, which is owned by Disney, and the actor had reportedly agreed that her compensation for the film would “be based largely on box office receipts” and so to “maximise these receipts, and thereby protect her financial interests” the actor made the studio promise the movie would be exclusively released in theatres.”
Her lawyers stated that Disney was “well aware of this promise” when they made the decision to release the film on Disney+, and claimed the company’s motive was to “substantially devalue Ms Johansson’s agreement and thereby enrich itself”.
Black Widow set a pandemic-era box office record when it first opened but saw a sharp decline in ticket sales afterwards. It has been reported to have taken $317million (£228m) globally and is on track to become one of the lowest-grossing MCU movies of all time.