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Victoria Alonso Was Reportedly Fired From Marvel Studios Over An International Oscar Contender

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect a new statement from Victoria Alonso's attorney that was released after the original publication.

Victoria Alonso, the former top Marvel Studios executive who abruptly left Disney this month, was fired for cause after working with competitor Amazon Studios on the Oscar-nominated drama "Argentina, 1985," The Hollywood Reporter discovered. Her work as a producer on the film breached a noncompetition clause in an agreement she signed back in 2018 that prohibited working with rival studios.

According to the report's insider sources, Alonso received several warnings before her termination in late March. Upon discovering the breach of contract, Disney reportedly gave Alonso amnesty on the condition that she would neither engage in further work on the film nor promote it. Nevertheless, Alonso continued to put her full weight behind the project, conducting interviews and other publicity events, and even appearing at the Oscars in support of the Amazon film rather than her own studio's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which was also nominated for awards.

Alonso, who was born in Argentina, has explained that "Argentina, 1985," is extremely personal for her, as it tells the story of the so-named Dirty War, a mass terror campaign waged during the late 20th century by the country's right-wing military junta dictatorship against its political opposition. It was a mass extermination event that saw the junta's Argentine Anticommunist Alliance hunt down and "disappear" up to 30,000 people. "For some reason, they didn't come after me," Alonso told IndieWire last month. "But I was very vocal, very active. Looking back, I don't think I knew exactly what going to a march or speaking up against the system meant."

Alonso's Oscars defection was the last straw for Disney, which was concerned that, in addition to her breach of contract, Alonso's work on "Argentina, 1985" was taking precedence over her other exigent duties for Marvel Studios.

Disney felt Alonso neglected her duty as Marvel's VFX supervisor

Further drawing the ire of Disney was the fact that, as she worked on "Argentina, 1985," Alonso was viewed as neglecting her duty as the president of physical production, postproduction, VFX, and animation at Marvel Studios.

In 2022, Marvel Studios became ground zero for public outrage over the treatment of visual effects workers in the film industry. VFX houses work independently of studios, which contract with them to make the impossible look real. Marvel is one of the most prolific contractors to VFX houses, and a notoriously demanding one at that. Effects workers have complained that Marvel leverages its dominance to demand grueling hours while constantly shifting deadlines and expectations. Even Marvel's own talent has spoken up in support of VFX workers.

As president of VFX, Alonso bore responsibility for the situation. Marvel's VFX was increasingly derided by fans and critics for shoddy quality. The studio had ramped up its production schedule, which now includes a bevy of Disney+ series in addition to its tentpole blockbusters, increasing the work for already strained VFX teams. Meanwhile, some post-production workers have named Alonso as being particularly difficult to work with. One source told The Hollywood Reporter, "You can only ask a person to stay until 1 a.m. working on VFX shots for so long before they start to break." In January 2023, another VFX worker told Vulture, "The main one that everyone's quite scared of is Victoria Alonso ... if you have pissed her off in any way, you're going to get frozen out."

As problems piled up on her desk and Marvel Studios released more content than ever before, Disney viewed her split allegiances, already in violation of her contract, as intolerable.

A principled artist, or a corporate defector?

These new revelations paint a complicated picture. From one perspective, Alonso might be viewed as a creative willing to work to support a very personal film regardless of the consequences. From another — and certainly from Disney's point of view — she was a liability whose divided attention embarrassed the company while she mismanaged its own projects.

Before now, it was speculated that Alonso, who is queer, had left over the battle between Disney and the state of Florida regarding Governor Ron DeSantis' legislative attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community. DeSantis championed a bill, colloquially known as the "don't say gay" law, against which Alonso was vocally outspoken. In April 2022, the former executive called on former CEO Bob Chapek to "take a stand" during her acceptance for a GLAAD award (via Deadline). DeSantis has since taken unprecedented steps to strip Disney of its unique ownership over Florida's Reedy Creek Improvement District, which houses Disney World.

But Alonso's opposition to Florida's legislative attacks on its queer population did in fact match up with Disney's publicly stated position on the matter, though the company initially hem-hawed the issue. She was subsequently asked to join the board of GLAAD as Disney's representative and was assigned to its queer leadership Pride 365 team, appearing in the company's "Say It With Pride" special.

As for the VFX debacle, some say not all the blame can be laid on Alonso, with one worker telling The Hollywood Reporter the real issue is aggressive release schedules.

Alonso's attorney has released a statement on the matter

Given the high-profile nature of this matter, it should come as no surprise that Victoria Alonso's legal representative has come forward with a statement. Speaking to Variety, Alonso's attorney Patty Glaser called Disney's actions against her client "absolutely ridiculous," deriding the studio for allegedly going back on its word that Alonso was free to work on "Argentina, 1985." Glaser added, "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."

Glaser also mentions that there's even more to the story here than what has already made it into the public spotlight. She claims that, in some form or fashion, Alonso will offer up even more details about everything in due time. Sources close to this still-developing situation told Variety that following Alonso's call to action for Bob Chapek at the GLAAD awards, she was alerted that she could no longer do press for Marvel Studios releases. Time will tell if more information about this will come to light in the impending weeks as well.