Victoria Alonso Weighing Legal Action Against Disney, Marvel Over Sudden Firing; “Serious Consequences” Promises Lawyer Patty Glaser As Mouse House Points At “Indisputable Breach of Contract”

Victoria Alonso Weighing Legal Action Against Disney, Marvel Over Sudden Firing; “Serious Consequences” Promises Lawyer Patty Glaser As Mouse House Points At “Indisputable Breach of Contract”

March 25, 2023

The Walt Disney Company is facing “serious consequences” and possible legal action over the pink slipping this week of Marvel VFX chief Victoria Alonso.

Making it clear to Bob Iger, Kevin Feige and everyone at the House of Mouse that she is not going quietly the Oscar nominated producer has retained the services of Patty Glaser. To that end, with competing POVs on what was going on BTS, the Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP partner is putting Disney on notice.

In a statement released Friday for the now former  President, Physical and Postproduction, VFX and Animation Production for Marvel Studios, the litigator, who is already taking Disney-owned LucasFilm to court for the canning of Star Wars TV series The Acolyte EP Karyn McCarthy, said:

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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. Victoria, a gay Latina who had the courage to criticize Disney, was silenced. Then she was terminated when she refused to do something she believed was reprehensible. Disney and Marvel made a really poor decision that will have serious consequences. There is a lot more to this story and Victoria will be telling it shortly—in one forum or another.

Disney isn’t taking that shot across the bow without a missive of their own.

“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,” a Disney spokesperson told Deadline this evening. “We will continue to wish her the best for the future and thank her for her numerous contributions to the studio.”

Alonso still has her Possibility Is Your Superpower memoir coming out later this year on Disney imprint.

The very press-friendly Alonso, who was consistently an outspoken champion of diversity at Disney to the point where she called out then-Disney CEO Bob Chapek to “take a stand” against Florida’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislation ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, abruptly departed earlier this week from Marvel Studios after a near two-decade run. 

“So I ask you again Mr. Chapek: please respect—if we’re selling family—take a stand against all of these crazy outdated laws,” Alonso told a GLAAD audience over the clear discrimination move in the Sunshine Sate a.k.a home of DisneyWorld. “Take a stand for family. Stop saying that you tolerate us …We deserve the right to live, love, and have. More importantly, we deserve an origin story.”

We hear after her remarks at GLAAD last April over Disney’s mishandling of Florida’s Don’t Say Gay legislation, Alonso was benched by executives and told that she could no longer do interviews or media at all. Alonso was even asked late last year by a prominent director to speak out for a Marvel film, but she stayed mute. Then the self-described “reprehensible” incident occurred, which seemed to involve a disagreement with a Disney executive, who is not Iger, we’ve learned.

However, with that we hear that  the Buenos Aires-born Alonso did not initially seek permission to produce the Academy Award nominated Argentina, 1985, but did see her contract re-drafted out of respect for her years at the company. The sticking point was the Alonso was distinctly not supposed to promote the political drama, which she did. That was the breaking point, an insider says.

As for Alonso being told to stay away from the press, there are more than a handful of media clippings from June last year announcing her memoir and with quotes from the then exec.

In what is certain to become ever sharper elbows if this goes to court, Deadline has been told that despite her affable demeanor to the press, Alonso was sometimes challenging to work with at the House of Mouse.

The punishing schedule aside, one insider cited how Alonso would take days off to conduct her own personal business affairs (read, producing the Argentina 1985 Oscar nominated film), and this ultimately resulted to some degree in a logjam of Marvel films and TV series in the post-production pipeline causing major theatrical release date dealys. While many studios suffered delays in post-production houses due to the pandemic, Disney on several occasions delayed its bigger movies, i.e. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of MadnessThor Love & Thunder, Black Panther Wakanda Forever and Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania and most recently The Marvels. In the new-cost cutting, job-cutting Iger 2.0 era, count VFX expenses—which was chiefly under Alonso’s domain– as one of those line items that needs to be reigned in. 

Whether or not that meant showing the door to Alonso is a whole other matter, likely heading towards a pay out or a trial at this rate.

The hiring of Hollywood heavyweight litigator Glaser was first reported by Variety.

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