Disney has fired back--at least verbally!--at a lawsuit filed against it by actress Scarlett Johansson, claiming the Black Widow star is showing "callous disregard" for the impact of the pandemic on the film industry.
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing," Disney said in a statement, released Thursday, shortly after Johansson's suit was made public.
"The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney Plus with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date," Disney added.
Volleying a return, Johansson's agent, Bryan Lourd, said that Disney has "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."
Johansson is suing Disney, claiming its decision to release Black Widow simultaneously as premium $30 extra on streaming service Disney Plus and in theaters harmed the performance of the theatrical release window, breaching a contract that was based on agreed-upon traditional benchmarks.
Johansson said the decision could end up costing her as much as $50 million.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.
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