Disney demands arbitration over Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Black Widow’ lawsuit

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Disney is currently demanding that Scarlett Johansson’s suit over her Black Widow pay be moved to arbitration. The filings came near midnight on Friday evening in Los Angeles Superior Court. The company has also revealed that on Aug. 10, it initiated arbitration against her.

Johansson filed a complaint that she was breached when her superhero film was released on Disney+. The actress earns bonuses when Black Widow reaches certain box office performance markers and she accuses Disney of not having the film exclusively in theaters because it “saw the opportunity to promote its flagship subscription service.”

“Periwinkle agreed that all claims ‘arising out of, in connection with, or relating to’ Scarlett Johansson’s acting services for Black Widow would be submitted to confidential, binding arbitration in New York,” says the motion filed in LA Superior Court on Friday by Disney’s outside lawyers Daniel Petrocelli, Leah Godesky and Tim Heafner of O’Melveny & Myers LLP against Johansson and her company.

“Whether Periwinkle’s claims against Disney fall within the scope of that agreement is not a close call: Periwinkle’s interference and inducement claims are premised on Periwinkle’s allegation that Marvel breached the contract’s requirement that any release of Black Widow includes a ‘wide theatrical release’ on ‘no less than 1,500 screens,” the 23-page motion adds, taking a direct swipe at the obvious Achilles’ heel of the longtime Marvel star’s 29 July filed suit. “The plain and expansive language of the arbitration agreement easily encompasses Periwinkle’s Complaint.”

Presently Disney wants an October 15 hearing in DTLA on the arbitration matter. The company’s response also reveals that they and subsidiary Marvel “on August 10, 2021, Marvel and Disney served on Periwinkle a demand for confidential arbitration in New York.” Johansson’s Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP team has not responded to that demand yet, as per Disney.

 

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