According to an attorney for Victoria Alonso, the now-former Marvel Studios executive was not let go for allegedly violating a non-competition clause of her employment contract, but rather for her previous leveling of public criticism towards Disney for what she saw as their failure to adequately fight against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law.
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News of Alonso’s exit first broke on March 20th when The Hollywood Reporter, as per information received from “multiple sources”, announced that “the longtime and high-profile Marvel Studios executive whose time with the company dates back to the first Iron Man, has left the studio.”
Though details regarding the exact reasons behind the Marvel Studios shake-up were initially unclear, THR revealed in a follow-up report on March 24th that this move was purportedly the result of Alonso having served as a producer on Amazon Studios’ historical drama film Argentina, 1985.
Produced by filmmakers native to the titular country, the film recounts a fictionalized version of the ‘Trial of the Juntas’, a 1985 event which saw Argentina’s then-newly elected democratic government move to criminally prosecute the military groups responsible for enforcing the nation’s previous dictatorship.
Several sources who spoke to THR said that because Argentina, 1985 was produced by Amazon Studios rather than Disney, “Alonso breached a 2018 agreement that included the company’s standards of business conduct, which states that employees cannot work for competing studios.”
“When Disney found out about the project and the violation, her longtime service and veteran status led the company to give her a dispensation on the condition that she not work on the movie further,” the outlet added. “She was also not to promote it or publicize it in any way.”
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However, these warnings did little to deter Alonso’s efforts, as she would later appear at the 2023 Academy Awards in promotion of Argentina, 1985 (which was nominated for ‘Best International Feature Film’) rather than Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
This appearance would only spark further disagreements among her fellow executives and, when combined with the growing number of criticisms against Marvel’s visual effects (a division of the studio which she directly oversaw), eventually lead to her supposedly being “terminated for cause”.
But according to Alonso’s legal representative in her exit from Disney, this reasoning could not be further from the truth, as “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,” Alonso’s attorney, Patty Glaser, told Variety on March 24th. “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.”
Glaser’s mention of Alonso’s “courage to criticize Disney” refers to the latter’s appearance at the 2022 GLAAD Media Awards, whereat she said of former Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s initial reluctance to take a stand against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law, “If you are a member of the LGBTQIA community and you work at the Walt Disney Company, the last two or three weeks have been a sad event.”
“I’ve asked Mr. Chapek for courage in a 45-minute sit-down,” Alonso told the crowd while accepting the organization’s award for Outstanding Film on behalf of Marvel’s Eternals. “I asked him to look around and truly if what we sell is entertainment for the family, we don’t choose what family. Family is this entire room. Family is the family in Texas, in Arizona, in Florida, and in my family, in my home.”
“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 continued. “Take a stand for family. Stop saying that you tolerate us—nobody tolerates me, let me tell you that. You tolerate the heat in Florida, the humidity in Arizona or Florida, and the dryness in Arizona and Texas. And you tolerate a tantrum in a two-year-old. But you don’t tolerate us. We deserve the right to live, love, and have. More importantly, we deserve an origin story.”
Drawing her speech to a close, Alonso ultimately asserted, “I encourage all of you to stop being silent—silence is death.”
“Silence is poison,” she concluded. “But if you don’t stand up, if you don’t fight, if you don’t give your money, if you don’t vote, then all we can do is have a party and be gay. Fight, fight, fight! As long as I am at Marvel Studios I will fight for representation for all of us.”
In response to Glaser’s comments, a Disney spokesperson told Variety, “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.”
We will continue to wish her the best for the future and thank her for her numerous contributions to the studio,” the rep added.
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