Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow

Things We Saw Today: Disney Tries to Force the Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit into Arbitration

Plus Funkos, The Eternals, and more!

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Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney continues, as the studio has filed a motion to force Johansson into private arbitration. Johansson claims that she lost out on millions after Disney decided to release the film both in theaters and on Disney+, cutting into her theatrical profits.

The lawsuit has already turned nasty, after the studio made misogynistic claims that targeted Johansson’s success. Groups like Time’s Up spoke out in defense of Johansson, accusing Disney of making gendered attacks toward the actor.

Disney’s move towards private arbitration is no doubt an attempt to downplay the bad press they’ve received since attacking the popular actor. Johansson’s attorney John Berlinski released a statement saying, “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 cannibalize 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.”

Johansson’s lawsuit could have huge ramifications for the hybrid theatrical release model that many studios are implementing. And few actors possess the status and finances to take on an entire studio. After all, Johansson has appeared in nine Marvel movies as a core member of the Avengers, a franchise that has earned Disney billions of dollars. If she says she’s owed something, Disney would be smart to listen and settle this lawsuit before they receive any more bad press.

(via Variety, image: Disney/Marvel)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.