Fans Call Disney “Hypocritical” For Response to Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit

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scarlett johansson as black widow (left) and disney characters with cinderella castle (right)

Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Last week, news broke that Marvel Cinematic Universe star Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow) is suing The Walt Disney Company for $50 million due to an alleged breach of contract in regard to the release of her standalone MCU film, Black Widow (2021).

scarlet johansson as natasha romanoff aka black widow superhero pose in iron man 2
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Florence Pugh Not Following Scarlett Johansson, Confirms Immediate MCU Return

Per the suit, Johansson had a clause added to her contract in 2019 — the year Disney’s streaming platform, Disney+, debuted — that Black Widow must be an exclusive theatrical release. This was due to the fact that much of her salary was based on box office sales at movie theaters.

scarlett johansson as natasha romanoff (left) and florence pugh as yelena belova (right) black widow on bik
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel Pres. Kevin Feige Reportedly Livid, “Embarrassed” About ‘Black Widow’

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek and the executive team made the call to release the first film in Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 — which is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War (2018) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018) — simultaneously in theaters and on the Disney+ Premier Access offering.

Left to Right Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Alexei (David Harbour) and Yelena (Florence Pugh)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Dwayne Johnson Speaks Out On If He Plans to Sue Disney For ‘Jungle Cruise’ Release Plan

This decision seemingly played a major role in the Marvel movie’s “stunning crash” during its second weekend in theaters.

Following Johansson’s filing, Disney responded to the lawsuit, saying that the actress was displaying “callous disregard” for the pandemic era.

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: With Black Widow Out, ‘The Marvels’ May Bring a Brand-New Avenger

Some Disney fans on social media, however, feel that Disney is being hypocritical in calling out the MCU star, given how the company’s theme parks are operating, particularly as the COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread.

Dana Alyss responded to an article about Johansson’s lawsuit by writing:

Meanwhile at Disneyland & Disney World:

$150 tickets, no capacity limits, Halloween Party on sale & no masks required putting workers & guests at risk…

Per Disney’s own response… What a callous disregard for the horrific & prolonged global effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

At this time, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort are currently open, though the exact capacity at which these Parks are operating remains unknown. Recently, per a recommendation from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Disneyland and Disney World have reinstated indoor face mask mandates for all Guests ages 2 and up, when they were previously optional for all Guests and encouraged (but not mandated) for unvaccinated Guests. Masks are not required outdoors for anyone.

Related: Marvel Replaces Scarlett Johansson in New Series, Benedict Cumberbatch Will Return

Another Twitter user named Richard also called out The Walt Disney Company in a post, stating in part:

@DisneyStudios really thought they could play the “covid sympathy” card with @Scarlett_Jo to make her look insensitive about getting paid fairly. But Walt Disney World only closed for 3 months during covid.

kids riding magic carpets of aladdin at disney world
Credit: Disney

To clarify, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort — among the other Disney Parks and Resorts all around the world — temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2021. After getting the free Disney World reopened its theme parks four months later in July 2021.

Related: Signage Reappears at Disney World as Mask Rules Officially Change

A social media user going by the name Core shared similar thoughts about Disney’s response to the Black Widow suit:

Disney: Scarlett Johansson shows a callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Also Disney: Lets open up Disneyworld [sic: Disney World]!

Related: Did Doctor Strange MURDER Iron Man?

Another fan with the Twitter name EW noted:

Disney using Covid as an excuse to not pay Scarlett Johansson what they were contractually obligated to pay her when they caused a major spike in covid cases reopening Disney World early during a pandemic sounds kinda outta pocket to me…

It is, however, worth noting that no COVID-19 outbreaks have been officially tied to any Disney Park properties.

Related: Emma Stone Reportedly Weighing Legal Options Against Disney

At this time, Disney has not further responded to the Johansson lawsuit, nor have they acknowledged the fan sentiment that the company is being hypocritical by continuing relatively normal Park operations amid the pandemic — many COVID-19 protocols, including social distancing measures and plexiglass dividers on rides have been removed at this time.

However, it is worth noting that, as mentioned, both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort recently reinstated indoor face mask requirements per CDC guidelines.

What do you think about Disney’s response to Scarlett Johansson’s $50 million Black Widow lawsuit?

You can stream Black Widow and the three series in Marvel’s Phase 4 so far — Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s WandaVision, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki — on Disney+ anytime.


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