Disney pushed back Thursday against Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit over Black Widow profits, claiming the “sad and distressing” suit ignored the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in a statement, per Variety. “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The House of Mouse said it paid Johansson $20 million for the film and that its simultaneous release in theaters and on Disney+, its streaming service, allows her to continue making more money. In response, the actor’s agent, Bryan Lourd, said the company “has shamelessly and falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t.”
Johansson filed a lawsuit this week against Disney, claiming its decision to immediately put the long-delayed Black Widow on Disney+ breached her contract and robbed her of back-end box office profits she was supposed to receive. Johansson said she tried to reach out to the company to update her contract, but it was not receptive. The dual release has enraged Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who pushed back on the move in fear of situations like this, according to reporter Matthew Belloni.