CAA’s Bryan Lourd Slaps Back at Disney’s ‘Shameless’ and ‘False’ Response to Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit

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CAA’s Bryan Lourd Slaps Back at Disney’s ‘Shameless’ and ‘False’ Response to Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit
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The war of words between Scarlett Johansson and Disney continued to escalate on Friday.

Johansson’s agent, CAA co-chair Bryan Lourd, released a fiery statement calling out Disney for “shamelessly and falsely” accusing the “Black Widow” star of being insensitive to the pandemic and for publishing her $20 million salary for the film to the press “in an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman.”

“Scarlett has been Disney’s partner on nine movies, which have earned Disney and its shareholders billions. The company included her salary in their press statement in an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman, as if that were something she should be ashamed of. Scarlett is extremely proud of the work that she, and all of the actors, writers, directors, producers, and the Marvel creative team have been a part of for well over a decade,” Lourd said in the statement.

“This suit was filed as a result of Disney’s decision to knowingly violate Scarlett’s contract. They have very deliberately moved the revenue stream and profits to the Disney+ side of the company, leaving artistic and financial partners out of their new equation. That’s it, pure and simple.”

Disney did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment about Lourd’s statement.

On Thursday, Johansson filed a bombshell lawsuit against Disney, alleging that the studio breached her contract over its decision to release “Black Widow” on Disney+ at the same time as the film’s theatrical release — thus depriving her of lucrative backend bonuses based on the Marvel film’s box office performance. Insiders told the Wall Street Journal she stood to gain as much as $50 million from ticket sales.

“It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like ‘Black Widow’ directly onto Disney+ to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price – and that it’s hiding behind COVID-19 as a pretext to do so,” John Berlinski, Johansson’s attorney, said in a statement to TheWrap on Thursday. “But ignoring the contracts of the artists responsible for the success of its films in furtherance of this short-sighted strategy violates their rights and we look forward to proving as much in court. This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts.”

Lourd was responding to Disney’s surprisingly sharp-tongued response to the suit, which it said had “no merit whatsoever.”

“The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the studio’s statement said. “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.”

“Black Widow” has grossed $157 million to date at the domestic box office. Disney also reported a global total of $60 million in paid streaming sales on its opening weekend. Johansson is seeking both punitive and monetary damages, as well as a trial by jury.

Here is Lourd’s statement in full:

I want to address the Walt Disney Company’s statement that was issued in response to the lawsuit filed against them yesterday by our client Scarlett Johansson. They have 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.

Scarlett has been Disney’s partner on nine movies, which have earned Disney and its shareholders billions. The company included her salary in their press statement in an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman, as if that were something she should be ashamed of. Scarlett is extremely proud of the work that she, and all of the actors, writers, directors, producers, and the Marvel creative team have been a part of for well over a decade.

This suit was filed as a result of Disney’s decision to knowingly violate Scarlett’s contract. They have very deliberately moved the revenue stream and profits to the Disney+ side of the company, leaving artistic and financial partners out of their new equation. That’s it, pure and simple.

Disney’s direct attack on her character and all else they implied is beneath the company that many of us in the creative community have worked with successfully for decades.

Read original story CAA’s Bryan Lourd Slaps Back at Disney’s ‘Shameless’ and ‘False’ Response to Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit At TheWrap

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