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Disney Slammed for 'Gendered Character Attack' on Scarlett Johansson Over Black Widow Lawsuit

Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson in the official poster of Marvel's Black Widow.

Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson in the official poster of Marvel's Black Widow.

Scarlett Johansson has sued the Walt Disney Co. over its streaming release of Black Widow. In its response, the studio has called the lawsuit "distressing".

Women in Film, ReFrame and Time’s Up have condemned Disney’s recent response to Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against the studio over its streaming release of Black Widow, which the actress claimed breached her contract and deprived her of potential earnings. The Walt Disney Company called out Johansson for showing “callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“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 characterize Johansson as insensitive or selfish for defending her contractual business rights,” said the organisations in a joint statement.

“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,” the statement continued.

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In response to Johansson’s legal filing over the streaming release of Black Widow, Disney said, “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” Disney said in a statement. “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Johansson’s agent CAA co-chairman Bryan Lourd slammed Disney on Saturday for shaming the actress publicly and “deliberately" moving “the revenue stream and profits" of Black Widow “to the Disney+ side of the company leaving artistic and financial partners out of their new equation."

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first published:July 31, 2021, 12:10 IST