Scarlett Johansson’s SAG union calls out Disney’s ‘gender-shaming & bullying’

Scarlett Johansson attends EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 at the Royal Albert Hall - BAFTA Awards 2020 - London, UK (02/02/2020)

Scarlett Johansson filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Disney two weeks ago after they screwed her over on her contractual backend by releasing Black Widow on their Premier Access streaming service. BW’s box office numbers struggled, and that struggle was partially attributed to the fact that millions of people simply streamed the movie from the comfort of their own home, the profits of which Scarlett does not get a cut. In retaliation and response of Scarlett’s lawsuit, Disney immediately went Full Petty and issued this statement:

“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+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 [million] she has received to date.”

Disney came out firing, which – in my opinion – shows that Scarlett’s lawsuit has some merit. They wouldn’t have come out, guns blazin’, if this was just some nuisance suit. People are still really mad about this statement from Disney too – Scarlett’s CAA agent, Bryan Lourd, called out Disney’s sexism and appalling language. I said at the time that this has the power to really shift a lot of loyalties and business-as-usual within Hollywood. Powerful people might actually have to take sides and there’s a “going to the mattresses” vibe. Speaking of, the president of SAG-AFTRA, Gabrielle Carteris, issued her statement on behalf of the actor’s union.

“Disney should be ashamed of themselves for resorting to tired tactics of gender-shaming and bullying,” Carteris said in a statement. “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.”

“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.”

[From Deadline]

Honestly? While I will hate on ScarJo for many, many things, I admire her for what she’s doing here, and I’m glad that her union and several womens’ groups and equal pay groups are backing her too. Carteris is right – Disney’s statement is gendered and Disney was trying “to put a woman in her place.” Which, again, shows that Scarlett’s lawsuit has merit, and that she’s been treated differently (with less respect) by Disney/Marvel.

Meanwhile, “longtime Disney attorney Daniel Petrocelli” gave an interview to Variety in which he… continued to smear Scarlett as a greedy a–hole. Petrocelli told Variety: “It is obvious that this is a highly orchestrated PR campaign to achieve an outcome that is not obtainable in the lawsuit. No amount of public pressure can change or obscure the explicit contractual commitments. The written contract is clear as a bell.” A lawsuit isn’t a PR campaign. It’s a lawsuit, and if Scarlett didn’t have all of her ducks in a row, Disney’s smears would have worked. That’s why he’s mad.

Now, Petrocelli also claims that the revenue from the Premier Access streams are factored into the box-office tally. Meaning, I guess, that they’ll just lump the Premier Access money with the box office money and it’s all the same and ScarJo might hit her bonus markers that way? Which is interesting, if true, although I think Scarlett’s case is more about how she had zero choice in BW coming out on Premier Access on the same day as the theatrical release. Speaking of, the Disney lawyers also claim that they were blindsided by Scarlett’s lawsuit and that she had not raised any of these issues beforehand. That’s a damn lie and everyone knows it. Anyway, this Variety piece is interesting and I bet Petrocelli’s comments will be entered into the court record at some point.

scarjo BW1

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Marvel.

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37 Responses to “Scarlett Johansson’s SAG union calls out Disney’s ‘gender-shaming & bullying’”

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  1. WithTheAmerican says:

    That’s MY Union, and this is exactly the issue I mentioned when this first came out, on these pages.

    I don’t even like Woody Allen endorsing SJ, but she’s 100% right here.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      That’s because SJ has always defended Woody…

      • WithTheAmerican says:

        That’s exactly what I meant, I didn’t write it clearly. Should have had dashes between it. I meant she keeps endorsing gross Woody. Thanks for clarifying!

    • Fortuona says:

      Why your union negotiated a deal 2 years ago now Andrea thinks they should get more since big players have started streaming

      And she was treated the same as The Rock

  2. local russian hill says:

    lame. disney is lame. glad to see sag stood up for scarlett and the principle of her suit.

  3. Kat says:

    I also am not a huge Scarjo either – but I stand behind her in this and I’m glad to see other industry people calling out Disney as well. I checked and RD Jr made $75 million total with the back end pay for just one Avengers movie. Why would Scarjo not be allowed the same ability to do so if her movie is successful? Disney is trying the “you’ve made a lot as a woman – just be happy with THAT” tactic. And no she shouldn’t have to be happy with $20 mil if her male peers are making $75 mil.

    • Fortuona says:

      Well no she is getting the same numbers as the men who all $20 m and 8% as time moved on and then they were dropped as well

  4. Ariel says:

    Way to go Andrea!!!
    Gabrielle Carteris will forever be Andrea from 90210 to me!
    And, she’s right.
    LOVE that the gendered shaming of women is being called out and not just blindly accepted.

  5. Case says:

    I’m not a ScarJo fan at all but I’m glad she’s sticking up for herself and that SAG is standing by her. If Disney is willing to throw a huge star they’ve worked with for 10 years under the bus, what do they do to other actors? This lawsuit will make sure Disney and other companies do not take advantage of the streaming situation in this way again.

    It reminds me of Taylor Swift taking a stand against music streaming services — some people may have thought she was acting entitled or greedy, but guess what? She was really securing well-deserved streaming dollars for ALL musicians because she chose to take a stand.

  6. Wiglet Watcher says:

    Generally speaking SJ is an ahole. But so is Disney. And this is entirely about a contract that seems is SJ’s favor. Disney made it worse with their statements. Much worse.

    Once the dust settles And she wins SJ might not get great work… Disney is far reaching.

  7. Lightpurple says:

    Kevin Feige is going to be a fascinating, powerful witness. His deposition will probably settle this mess.

    • Fortuona says:

      Not really as he was still booking other stuff to show now and it is not his money it is the shareloders money he was spending

      • detritus says:

        Hello brand new person with specific and weird takes. You don’t seem like you have an ulterior motive at all

      • Fortuona says:

        Whats weird ,she signed a deal based on 1500 screens and she got 30,000 .Signed a deal that said $20m plus 8% which is what she is getting for box office/streaming what she not getting in a free run at the D+ money .SAG negotiated 2 years ago and got a cut no matter what Andrea says

        And Feige is going to start arguing to delay the next batch of film/TV shows is he booking? Meanwhile he was spending their money on paying for stuff and wanting to keep pushing it back by at least another year possibly two .Shang-Chi comes out early then Venom/Eternals/Hawkeye/Spider-Man before the year closes

      • Marmalazed says:

        @detritus — Lmao, my thoughts exactly about this fortuona person lol

    • Fortuona says:

      Why in the last thread on this we talked about ‘Marvel’ and the $2b money they have tied up in the 8 novies an TV shows in production and how it starts being knocked off as you have delayed Black Widow for 18 months with Flo and Julia Louise Dreyfus who are supposed to be in other stuff going forward like Hawkeye in November

      And we had a pleasant chat about ,it was not ‘weird’ at that point

  8. Ann says:

    Andrea Zuckerman coming out for women and I love it! I’m happy Gabby Carteris is the SAG president. Her statement is perfect.

    Also, Disney thinks they will win by calling other people greedy?? Come on now, Disney. Charging $9 for a churro and ScarJo is the greedy one? Get the f outta town with that tripe.

  9. Nyro says:

    I’m rooting for her and I’m.glad to see very important women in the industry standing with her.

  10. reef says:

    Can someone explain how Disney’s statement is gendered and sexist? I honestly don’t see it. What am I missing?

    • Laalaa says:

      “furthermore, the release of ‘Black Widow’ on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20 [million] she has received to date.”

      To put it simply, have you ever heard that anyone would say this to a man? That he, an actor, was enhanced his ABILITY TO EARN 20M?
      Disney says – shut up, woman, you’re making enough money for a woman, you don’t need the rest of your money.

      • reef says:

        I read both of those articles and it feels like I’m still not connecting those dots re: sexism. It feels like that sexism claim came out of nowhere but Disney PR statement is unusually vitriolic. They have been other times white actresses have asked for more money and the response was never this harsh.
        Idk I’m team nobody but thank you for the sources.

    • Becks1 says:

      I don’t think the specific language is al that gendered, but the tone of the statement is. They’re definitely pushing back against the idea that a woman is asking for more money.

      (that said, I don’t think the tone of Disney’s response means that Disney is running scared from ScarJo or that Disney knows they were in the wrong. Disney of course came out swinging in response to a lawsuit. They don’t want anyone else filing lawsuits. They’re pissed at the idea of the lawsuit, not because they’re scared of losing. Maybe they’ll lose, maybe they won’t, my guess is this will end up settling for an undisclosed amount, but I think people are reading way too much into the statement itself as some sort of indicator that Scarlett will win.)

    • Ry says:

      No one sees it. She’s bored.

    • StormsMama says:

      @reef

      1.“Women are not ‘callous’ when they stand up and fight for fair pay – they are leaders and champions for economic justice,” Cartieris said.

      2. In a statement, Johansson lawyer John Berlinski criticized Disney’s initial statement about the lawsuit last week as a “bullying and misogynistic personal attack against Scarlett Johansson” and said that Petrocelli’s comments were “a desperate attempt” at image rehabilitation.

      So on point 1- they would NEVER accuse The Rock or RDjr or Matt Damon or any male of being “callous” about the pandemic
      Point 2- that personal attack is then paired with a declaration that her salary and whatever bonus she would/could receive was enough. She should be happy with it.
      Try for a moment to imagine them saying that about any of the male actors I mentioned. Never. Never.

      Hope that helps! ✌️

      • Fortuona says:

        Because took the same hit as her and is not suing . And $20m + 8% was her deal which she is getting but she is only due her SAG cut at the rate they set 2 years ago

  11. myjobistoprincess says:

    I hate hate hate scarlett’s vibe and tone , but i’m with her 100% here. Hope she wins and get back from these SOBs all the cash that shoudl have been her’s.

  12. jferber says:

    Disney is a notoriously stingy company and has low-paid even their stars. They are cheap as hell. And no, they would not say that shit to Mark Wahlberg, for instance (whom I actually hate more than Scarjo for a long list of reasons). So she should win this.

  13. sa says:

    It’s not a perfect analogy, but this lawsuit has been making me think of Curt Flood, who sued mlb before free agency, it ruined his career, but other players have all benefited from his lawsuit (he lost his case, but it was a huge factor in baseball getting free agency). Anyway, while I think this case will probably settle with the terms kept confidential, I’m wondering to what extent this will hurt ScarJo’s career, but ultimately help others.

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      She’s not someone who would have done this if it would hurt her career. She’s always backed the patriarchy and it is in her side.

      Disney is wrong and the entire industry on the artist side knows it. She had a ton of power given her box office power, which is what I suspect really prompted her to issue this suit – the lower box office reflects poorly on her in future negotiations.

      • sa says:

        Having other actors/her union on her side is great, but it’s the studios that hire the actors.

  14. Leslie says:

    While on the one hand a millionaire bickering about how many millions they get paid is annoying to watch from the poor seats, Scarlett has every right to file this lawsuit for breach of contract. Disney DID violate their contract with her. And she couldn’t file the lawsuit until the movie came out and she could prove damages. Hence the timing. So I hope she wins on principle.

  15. Sunnyvale says:

    I don’t like her and I should be rejoicing in her fighting a losing battle against a mighty opponent(Disney corporation) but I’m not and I hope she actually sets a precedent for other actors who lost out on their promised earnings.

  16. Ry says:

    Look. We all know none of these people would be saying this 10 years ago. Maybe not even 5 years ago.
    It’s the new trend.
    Using this amazing time of progress to go to extremes doesn’t help. Stop worrying how you look to people because it lessens the message when it’s real.
    I dgaf about her Disney shit.

  17. Ry says:

    My posts keep repeating. So be it.