Scarlett Johansson's lawyer dubs Disney 'misogynistic' over Black Widow release

Scarlett Johansson's lawyer has accused Disney of trying to "hide its misconduct" after the studio requested their lawsuit go into arbitration.

The Black Widow star recently filed to sue Disney as she claimed their decision to release the Marvel movie on Disney Plus at the same time as its theatrical release violated the terms of their contract and impacted negatively on her salary.

Following the lawsuit, the media giant accused her of having "callous disregard" for the COVID-19 pandemic, as they argued they only released the movie on the streaming service so that people could watch it from home without the risk of catching or transmitting the virus.

Now, Disney wants to battle it out behind closed doors with the 36-year-old actress after they filed the request on Friday (US time). 

Scarlett's lawyer John Berlinski is furious on behalf of his client, as he vowed to provide the "evidence" that proves Disney is in the wrong.

He told Deadline: "After initially responding to this litigation with a misogynistic attack against Scarlett Johansson, Disney is now, predictably, trying to hide its misconduct in a confidential arbitration.

"Why is Disney so afraid of litigating this case in public? Because it knows that Marvel's promises to give Black Widow a typical theatrical release 'like its other films' had everything to do with guaranteeing that Disney wouldn't cannibalise box office receipts in order to boost Disney Plus subscriptions. Yet that is exactly what happened – and we look forward to presenting the overwhelming evidence that proves it."

Disney had said they would be compensating for the lost revenue, and insisted there was "no merit" in Scarlett's lawsuit.

They said: "There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. 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 US$20M she has received to date."

Black Widow grossed US$80 million at the US box office on its opening weekend, as well as another US$78 million overseas and US$60 million from home purchases on the streaming platform.

Bang Showbiz