An attorney representing former Marvel Studio executive Victoria Alonso, who was fired earlier this week from the Walt Disney Co.-owned superhero juggernaut, is firing back at reports that she was pushed out over an Oscar-nominated film she produced.
The Hollywood Reporter on Friday published a story citing unnamed sources who said Alonso violated her 2018 employment contract with Disney by producing the film “Argentina, 1985,” which was made by a competing studio, Amazon, and released on Prime Video.
The film was nominated for an Oscar for international feature this year. Alonso was one of multiple producers on the project.
Sources close to Disney said Alonso was not terminated after she violated the contract but was given a new employment agreement and was told not to continue promoting the film. Alonso, however, subsequently gave an interview to IndieWire about the movie and walked the Oscars red carpet to support it.
Alonso’s lawyer, Hollywood power player Patty Glaser, blasted the emerging narrative of the reasons for the executive’s firing as “absolutely ridiculous” in a statement emailed to The Times.
“The idea that Victoria was fired over a handful of press interviews relating to a personal passion project about human rights and democracy that was nominated for an Oscar and which she got Disney’s blessing to work on is absolutely ridiculous,” Glaser said.
“Victoria, a gay Latina who had the courage to criticize Disney, was silenced,” Glaser’s statement continued, referring to Alonso’s criticism of former Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek’s weak response to Florida’s so-called Don’t Say Gay education law.
Alonso has long been vocal on human rights and diversity issues. In April 2022, when accepting an award from GLAAD in Los Angeles, Alonso spoke about a lengthy conversation she had with Chapek about Disney’s response to Florida’s anti-LGBT law.
“So I ask you again, Mr. Chapek: Please respect — if we’re selling family — take a stand against all of these crazy outdated laws,” she said at the event. “Take a stand for family.”
Glaser said Alonso “was terminated when she refused to do something she believed was reprehensible,” without giving specifics.
“Disney and Marvel made a really poor decision that will have serious consequences,” the statement concluded. “There is a lot more to this story and Victoria will be telling it shortly — in one forum or another.”
A Disney spokesperson issued a statement in response to Glaser’s claims.
“It’s unfortunate that Victoria is sharing a narrative that leaves out several key factors concerning her departure, including an indisputable breach of contract and a direct violation of company policy,” the spokesperson said. “We will continue to wish her the best for the future and thank her for her numerous contributions to the studio.”
Alonso, a 17-year veteran of Marvel Studios who joined before the comic book company was acquired by Disney, was in charge of the superhero powerhouse’s visual effects and post-production. Her firing came after Marvel’s latest film, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and other MCU installments were criticized for their VFX work.
The latest “Ant-Man” suffered from poor reviews and had a steep second-weekend drop at the box office.
Marvel has also come under scrutiny for its treatment of VFX vendors and artists as the company churned out an extraordinary number of films and Disney+ series, including “Loki,” “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” and “Ms. Marvel.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger, who rejoined the Burbank entertainment giant in November after Chapek was fired, has suggested that the company needs to be more careful with its superhero franchise. The company has embarked on a widespread cost-cutting effort to restore its financial health.
“I think what we have to look at, at Marvel, is not necessarily the volume of Marvel storytelling, but how many times we go back to the well on certain characters,” Iger said at a recent investor conference. “Sequels typically work well for us. Do you need a third and a fourth, for instance, or is it time to turn to other characters?”
Alonso has continued to be featured in the press, at public events and in a Disney production despite having criticized the company in 2022.
She’s spoken about America Chavez’s LGBT identity in the latest “Doctor Strange” movie. In June, Disney said it would publish Alonso’s memoir. She’s also featured in “MPower,” a documentary that premiered on Disney+ this month.