The 62-year-old actress penned a special message for the “Black Widow” star as part of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021. Published on Wednesday, Curtis fiercely defends Johansson amid her lawsuit against Disney.
“I recently watched her own the screen as the “Black Widow”, who exacts revenge on a powerful figure who manipulates (emphasis on man) women to fight for him,” Curtis writes. “And then I saw her brilliant response to a real-life manipulation (same emphasis), when she filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the studio, alleging its decision to release the film simultaneously in theatres and on streaming cost her substantial losses in pay.”
“Whether as an assassin with a conscience, an actor with an emotional center or, having just given birth to her second child, a fierce mother, the message is clear: Don’t f**k with this mama bear,” Curtis adds.
Prior to touching on the Disney lawsuit, Curtis recalls the “kinship” she shares with Johansson as she “was born on my birthday in the year I was married.” Curtis also explains the relationship the two formed after Johansson played her mother in “Hitchcock”.
In July, ET confirmed that Johansson sued Disney for intentional interference with contractual relations and for inducing breach of contract. She also demanded a jury trial.
Johansson alleged in the docs obtained by ET that the simultaneous release of “Black Widow” in theatres and on Disney+ was a breach of contract. The actress claimed that she agreed her compensation for starring in “Black Widow” would be largely based on box office receipts generated by the film, and agreed to a theatrical release exclusive to movie theatres in order to maximize her pay.
Johansson claimed Disney violated its pledge by releasing “Black Widow” on Disney+ on July 9, 2021, the same day it was released in theatres.
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” a Walt Disney Company spokesperson said in a statement to ET at the time. “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.”
In August, ET reported that Disney filed a motion in Los Angeles to move the lawsuit to a private arbitration in New York.
Per the motion obtained by Variety, attorney Daniel Petrocelli argued that Disney held up its obligation to give the film a “wide theatrical” release, but noted that nothing in Johansson’s contract required the release to be exclusive to theatres.
Johansson’s attorney, John Berlinski, responded to Disney’s filing, claiming the company is “trying to hide its misconduct.”
“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,” Berlinski said in a statement to ET. “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.”
For more on the lawsuit, watch the video above.
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