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The #DisneyMustPay Task Force Supports Scarlett Johansson With Blistering Statement Against Disney

Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame

On August 30th, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force issued a statement in support of actor Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney. They did not mince words, declaring that Disney has “a pattern of behavior that forces creators to jump through unnecessary and tedious hoops to receive their agreed-upon payments.”

In an increasingly heated and public battle, Johansson is suing Disney for breaching her contractual payment structure and alleging lost profits due to Black Widow’s streaming distribution. The high-profile lawsuit continues to make headlines, with feminist groups recently calling out “gendered character attacks” by the mega-conglomerate as they try to fight Johansson’s claims.

The #DisneyMustPay Task Force is dedicated to ensuring that creatives get paid what they are owed by Disney, which they say has a long and unscrupulous history of denying payment. Without accountability, Disney will, they write, “continue finding new ways to avoid paying people for their creativity and honoring their contracts.”

Here’s the statement in full supporting Johannsson, via the SFWA (emphasis ours):

The #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force calls on Disney to respect Scarlett Johansson’s professional and artistic work on the film Black Widow. The first way to respect Ms. Johansson is to pay her properly and not use unethical contractual maneuvers to avoid payment. This is not the first time the Task Force has seen Disney attempt such twisting of contractual language.

The #DisneyMustPay Task Force is working to ensure that contracts are honored for all creators. This includes writers, actors, illustrators, and other artists. Disney has a pattern of behavior that forces creators to jump through unnecessary and tedious hoops to receive their agreed-upon payments. They continue finding new ways to avoid paying people for their creativity and honoring their contracts. Disney must pay all creators for their work, and the #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force is leading the way to make sure that happens.

The #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force includes many other guilds and associations and seeks to help collect royalties and contractually owed money from a range of properties under the Disney umbrella, including BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, Disney Publishing, and 20th Century Fox. They have additional support from well-known writers on the Task Force like Neil Gaiman, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Chuck Wendig.

The #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force identifies and guides authors and other creators who might be owed money. Disney is refusing to cooperate with the Joint Task Force to identify affected authors and other creators. The Task Force was formed by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) and includes the Authors Guild, Horror Writers Association, International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW), International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, National Writers Union, Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (SinC), Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), and Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Individual writers on the Task Force are Neil Gaiman, Lee Goldberg, Mary Robinette Kowal, Chuck Wendig, and Tess Gerritsen.

You can find out more about the Joint Task Force here.

(via The SFWA, image: Marvel/Disney)

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.