In June 2020, Ray Fisher tweeted about his experience working with Joss Whedon on Justice League, where Fisher played Cyborg. Fisher called Whedon’s conduct “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” in a tweet. The dominos haven’t stopped falling since, with actors from Whedon’s TV productions coming forward to speak in detail about his history of sexism, misogyny and fostering horrendously toxic environments.
The entire Justice League production was a stressful mess, and director Zack Snyder had to leave mid-production because of a death in his family. Whedon was brought on, and he quickly oversaw a giant overhaul of the script, which included marginalizing the Cyborg character, taking away his backstory and centering none of the story on that character. Whedon also wanted to make fundamental changes to Wonder Woman, and he reportedly did not get along with any of the Justice League actors besides Fisher, particularly Jason Momoa and Ben Affleck. Fisher was the first one to go public in a major way, and he’s forced Warner Bros to do some kind of investigation, an investigation which seems pretty f–king compromised.
Now Fisher has gone public yet again by sitting down for a lengthy interview with the Hollywood Reporter. Having read the whole thing, I now understand why I found the scandal hard to follow as the months went by – Warner Bros has been openly obfuscating and protecting Whedon and his studio bros, including Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Much of this THR piece is Fisher detailing the timeline of events, and it’s worth a read – go here. I believe Fisher entirely about how he was treated within the production of Justice League, and how he was treated afterwards, when he asked for the investigation. As THR also notes, it seems like everyone had an issue with Whedon. So why is WB still protecting him?
Fisher was not the only Justice League star who was unhappy. Sources say Joss Whedon clashed with all the stars of the film, including Jeremy Irons. And one Justice League star ended up taking her complaints not only to the head of the film studio but also to the chairman of Warner Bros. A knowledgeable source says Gal Gadot had multiple concerns with the revised version of the film, including “issues about her character being more aggressive than her character in Wonder Woman. She wanted to make the character flow from one movie to the next.”
The biggest clash, sources say, came when Whedon pushed Gadot to record lines she didn’t like, threatened to harm Gadot’s career and disparaged Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins. While Fisher declines to discuss any of what transpired with Gadot, a witness on the production who later spoke to investigators says that after one clash, “Joss was bragging that he’s had it out with Gal. He told her he’s the writer and she’s going to shut up and say the lines and he can make her look incredibly stupid in this movie.”
A knowledgeable source says Gadot and Jenkins went to battle, culminating in a meeting with then-Warners chairman Kevin Tsujihara. Asked for comment, Gadot says in a statement: “I had my issues with [Whedon] and Warner Bros. handled it in a timely manner.”
…By late June 2020, Fisher went public with his dissatisfaction at what he viewed as Warners’ inaction. For their part, Warners sources contend that Fisher was being manipulated by Snyder, who hoped to reclaim control of the DC film universe. Fisher says that “the assertion that a Black man would not have his own agency is just as racist as the conversations [Warners leadership] was having about the Justice League reshoots. I’ve been underestimated at every turn during this process and that is what has led us to this point. Had they taken me as seriously as they should have from the beginning, they would not have made as many foolish mistakes as they did in the process.” Snyder denies any role in influencing Fisher.
…As Fisher continued to air grievances on social media and in some interviews, he began to suspect that when he tweeted, the studio would put out an announcement to distract from his message. On July 1 — the day that Fisher tweeted about Whedon’s behavior — Deadline published an exclusive saying Warners was making a live-action Frosty the Snowman movie with Aquaman star Jason Momoa “voicing the iconic snowman.” A few weeks later, Momoa pushed back in an Instagram post. “I just think it’s f–ked up that people released a fake Frosty announcement without my permission to try to distract from Ray Fisher speaking up about the sh-tty way we were treated on Justice League reshoots,” he wrote. “Serious stuff went down. It needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.” (Warners says the “Untitled Snowman Comedy” remains in development.)
…”I don’t believe some of these people are fit for positions of leadership,” says Fisher, who explains he’s not looking for anyone to be fired. “I don’t want them excommunicated from Hollywood, but I don’t think they should be in charge of the hiring and firing of other people.” Fisher knows he’s not going to win that battle, but he feels a point has been made. “If I can’t get accountability,” he says, “at least I can make people aware of who they’re dealing with.”
This is beyond disgusting: “Whedon pushed Gadot to record lines she didn’t like, threatened to harm Gadot’s career and disparaged Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins… ‘Joss was bragging that he’s had it out with Gal. He told her he’s the writer and she’s going to shut up and say the lines and he can make her look incredibly stupid in this movie.’” This dude was considered a feminist icon for years. He was considered a writer and director FOR women. And there he was, with a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, picking on the one female superhero and making sure the actress knew that he could destroy her. I would love a full-length movie about Gal Gadot going to her agent, going to Patty Jenkins and going to the studio chief in short order. It sounds like all of the actors have Ray’s back, so then why is WB still being such f–king d–kheads?
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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