Some serious shots are being fired between Ray Fisher, the actor who starred as Cyborg in 2017’s Justice League, and Warner Bros. In case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s what’s happened so far.
In July, Fisher took to Twitter to make claims about a toxic and abusive work environment on the set of the film. The production had begun with director Zack Snyder at the helm, but after a family tragedy, Snyder left the set and was later replaced by Joss Whedon.
When Whedon stepped in, he reportedly scrapped most of Snyder’s work, leading to what many have called an uneven movie. This prompted fans to petition to have Snyder’s edit released, and in May it was confirmed that Zack Snyder’s Justice League would be released on HBO Max in 2021.
Fisher’s allegations mostly center on Whedon, but also producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg, who he says enabled the abusive behavior.
Interestingly, in 2017, Fisher spoke at San Diego ComicCon, praising Whedon’s work. “Joss is a great guy and Zack picked a good person to come in and finish up for him,” he said to the crowd.
His statement didn’t last
Fast forward to July of this year, and Fisher posted the ComicCon video on Twitter, saying “I’d like to take a moment to forcefully retract every bit of this statement.”
“Joss Whedon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable,” he wrote on Twitter a couple of days later. “He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.”
Fisher gave no further details as to what constituted that behavior, due to the fact that he’s still under a non-disclosure agreement as to happenings on-set. Since his statements, however, past actors and crew members who’ve worked with Whedon have come forward with their own allegations, some going as far back as his days working on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Whedon has beef with Snyder?!
Whedon also reportedly trashed Snyder’s work openly on the set of Justice League, according to an anecdote revealed by Kevin Smith on his show FatMan Beyond–undoubtedly a risky move with a cast and crew who appeared to remain loyal to their original director.
“Remember when I went to the Skywalker set, some people had worked on both versions of Solo and both versions of Justice League,” Smith said. “The special effects guy said there was a fair amount of trashing Zack’s version of the movie on set by Joss… that [Whedon] would cut down, dismiss, and be negative about Zack’s version, which he had seen and all these people had made together without him.”
Of course it’s possible that those verbal jabs could be the entirety of the abusive behavior Fisher referred to. Without more details it’s impossible to know. But it’s worth noting that in an Instagram Live that was put up on Labor Day, Fisher also claims that “the man used back channel communication to call me into his office and make a veiled threat to my career.”
A few weeks ago, The WB’s parent company, WarnerMedia, launched a third-party investigation into Fisher’s accusations. Then, last week, they released a statement accusing Fisher of not cooperating with the investigation.
In that statement, they implied that the actor’s issues mainly stemmed from his creative suggestions for his character not being taken seriously.
Was it personal, or professional?
“Mr. Fisher recounted disagreements he’d had with the film’s creative team regarding his portrayal of Cyborg, and complained that his suggested script revisions were not adopted,” part of the statement read. “[DC Films President Walter] Hamada explained that creative differences are a normal part of the production process, and that a film’s writer/director ultimately has to be in charge of these matters.”
The statement went on to say that their investigator hadn’t been able to get in touch with Fisher.
“While Mr. Fisher never alleged any actionable misconduct against him, WarnerMedia nonetheless initiated an investigation into the concerns he’d raised about his character’s portrayal,” part of the statement read. “Still not satisfied, Mr. Fisher insisted that WarnerMedia hire an independent third party investigator. This investigator has attempted multiple times to meet with Mr. Fisher to discuss his concerns but, to date, Mr. Fisher has declined to speak to the investigator.”
“I’m in shock and awe that Warner Bros. would have even had the audacity to put out a statement like that,” he said in the video. “They’ve set themselves up, unfortunately, for a lot of issues. They do not know how many receipts I have for interactions that I’ve had. They do not know the people I’ve been talking to. They do not know a lot of people I have that are willing and able to take part in the investigation. That, unfortunately, is something that’s going to jam them up in a big way.”
While details remain murky in all the back and forth, what we do know is that Fisher is gaining support–most recently from his Justice League co-star Jason Momoa, who posted an Instagram story with the hashtag #IStandWithRayFisher.