SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris has released a statement in regard to Scarlett Johansson’s recent lawsuit against Disney, alleging breach of contract on the major’s end for her participation in Black Widow.
According to Johansson, Disney violated her agreement by releasing the Marvel film theatrically and on streaming at the same time. The Los Angeles Superior Court is reviewing the lawsuit, which tackles a concern that is currently affecting all major studios.
In an unusually direct response, Disney claimed that the lawsuit showed a “callous disregard” to the Covid-19 pandemic, and that Johansson had already received $20 million from her participation in the film. Organizations like Time’s Up, Project ReFrame and Women In Film released a joint statement, criticizing the studio’s alleged attempt to “to characterize Johansson as insensitive or selfish for defending her contractual business rights.”
Subsequently, Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA, weighed in on the issue: “Disney should be ashamed of themselves for resorting to tired tactics of gender-shaming and bullying,” Carteris said on behalf of the actors union. “Actors must be compensated for their work according to their contracts. Scarlett 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. Nobody in any field of work should fall victim to surprise reductions in expected compensation. It is unreasonable and unjust. Disney and other content companies are doing very well and can certainly live up to their obligations to compensate the performers whose art and artistry are responsible for the corporation’s profits.”
She added: “Additionally, we are deeply concerned by the gendered tone of Disney’s criticism of Ms. Johansson. 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.”