Disney VS Scarlett Johansson: SAG-AFTRA President calls it ‘gender-shaming and bullying’ tactic

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Aug 07, 2021, 09:57 AM IST


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"Women are not ‘callous’ when they stand up and fight for fair pay – they are leaders and champions for economic justice," SAG-AFTRA President, Gabrielle Carteris, said of Disney's stance on Scarlett Johanson's 'Black Widow' lawsuit.

The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) President, Gabrielle Carteris, has made a few observations about Disney’s handling of the ‘Black Widow’ lawsuit by Scarlett Johansson. And it is not in the media giant’s favour. 

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

She went on to add, “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.”
In late July, Johansson filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that the studio breached her contract when it released ‘Black Widow’ simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+, a move she claims potentially cost her as much as 50 million USD.

In its initial statement on the suit, Disney lashed out, saying, “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 $20M she has received to date.”

 “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,” concluded Carteris. 

Recently, Women In Film, ReFrame and Time’s Up have also released a joint statement to accuse the Walt Disney Company of a ‘gendered character attack’ in its response to litigation filed by the ‘Black Widow’ star.