The plot thickens in the out open battle between Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson and The Walt Disney Company. The actress filed a lawsuit last Thursday in the High Court of Los Angeles against her previous employer for breach of contract. She immediately received harsh backlash from the company’s representatives. Now, Ms. Johansson’s team, the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), has fired back with a strong statement of their own.
Ms. Johansson’s claim lies in that Disney has effectively cut her off her bonus by releasing the new Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Widow both in movie theaters and on the online streaming service Disney+, instead of exclusively in theaters. The Walt Disney Company accused Ms. Johansson on a public statement that her lawsuit against them is a “callous disregard of the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.” They then also went ahead to make her $20+ million salary public knowledge.
If Disney’s PR team thought that Ms. Johansson was just going to take it without shooting back, they were sorely mistaken. Bryan Lourd, the co-chairman to CAA, said in a statement to Variety: “They have shamelessly and falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t.”
He continued to say, “The company included her salary in their press statement in an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman, as if that were something she should be ashamed of… This suit is 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.”
This fight will continue for the foreseeable future as both sides throw harsh accusations at each other. It is too soon to know when the actual legal battle will begin, but from the looks of it, it might get messy.