Ray Fisher Opens Up About 'Justice League,' Joss Whedon and Warners:
Apr 06, 2021 8 mins, 11 secs

Ever since June 2020, when he fired off a tweet accusing Joss Whedon of "gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable" conduct on the set of Justice League, the 33-year-old actor has used social media and a series of interviews to lob serious allegations of racist behavior and a cover-up at Warner Bros.

Others who were not involved with Justice League also spoke to Fisher and in some cases the investigators about experiences with Whedon and with Geoff Johns, who was co-chairman of DC Films and a producer on the film.

In May 2017, Fisher was walking into a movie in New York when he got a call from Zack Snyder that left him stunned: Snyder was leaving Justice League, citing his daughter's suicide.

The Justice League that Fisher had signed up for was a far cry from the film that Whedon ended up finishing.

When new filming proceeded under Whedon, says Fisher, he came to feel that he had "to explain some of the most basic points of what would be offensive to the Black community.".

When the two met at a bar, Fisher says, Whedon "was tiptoeing around the fact that everything was changing." As he left the meeting, Fisher was handed the revised script, which he read twice on the plane back.

Whedon sent out an email asking for questions, comments or "fulsome praise," but Fisher says it became clear: "All he was looking for was the fulsome praise." Trying to strike a jocular tone, Fisher responded that he mourned the loss of the Cyborg material but was moving on.

But in a call with Whedon, Fisher says he had barely started to talk when the filmmaker cut him off.

But Fisher says his ultimate response was, "We can't make Joss mad." Publicist Howard Bragman, who represents Johns, denies that but says Johns "recalls suggesting that any creative pitches should happen when Joss Whedon was not preoccupied so he would be most receptive.".

Once Whedon got involved, Fisher says that Johns told him that it was problematic that Cyborg smiled only twice in the movie.

Fisher says he later learned from a witness who participated in the investigation that Johns and other top executives, including then-DC Films co-chairman Jon Berg and Warners studio chief Toby Emmerich, had discussions in which they said they could not have "an angry Black man" at the center of the film.

Johns told Fisher he should play the character less like Frankenstein and more like the kindhearted Quasimodo.

Fisher says that in order to demonstrate the look he wanted, Johns dipped his shoulder in what struck Fisher as a servile posture.

Johns' rep denies that he ever dismissed any comments, adding that Fisher knew Johns — whose spokesperson requested that he be identified as Lebanese American — "had evolved traditionally all-white DC properties like Shazam, Justice Society of America and others into diverse groups of heroes" in his extensive work as a comic book author.

Fisher says that Johns had approached Snyder about including the line, but the director didn't want any catchphrases.

With reshoots underway, Fisher says Whedon raised the issue again: "Geoff tells me Cyborg has a catchphrase," he told him.

"This is one of the most expensive movies Warners has ever made," Berg said, according to Fisher.

As he arrived on set, he says, Whedon stretched out his arms and said a line from Hamlet in a mocking tone: "Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you." Fisher replied, "Joss — don't.

After Fisher arrived in Los Angeles for additional photography in summer 2017, Johns asked him to come to the DC offices in Burbank.

When they met in a conference room, Fisher said he had apologized to Whedon for his part in the conflict, which he had done in the hope of preventing a real rupture with the DC team.

Johns responded that having agents call Emmerich was "just not cool." Fisher recalls: "He said, 'I consider us to be friends' — which he knew we were not — 'and I just don't want you to make a bad name for yourself in the business.' " Fisher took that as a threat.

Johns' rep says he never made a threat but told Fisher that creative differences were not normally taken to the head of a film studio by an actor's agent.

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.

Asked for comment, Gadot says in a statement: "I had my issues with [Whedon] and Warner Bros.

Three months after Justice League hit theaters, Whedon exited Warners' Batgirl project.

But in November 2020 — just a couple of weeks before WarnerMedia said it had taken "remedial steps" after its investigation into Justice League — Whedon left that project, too.

(HBO chief Casey Bloys has said there were no complaints about Whedon's behavior on that series.) This time Whedon said he was not up to "the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic." Warners issued a clipped "We have parted ways with Joss Whedon.".

After Justice League, Fisher went on to play Mahershala Ali's son in the third season of True Detective, which he calls "a great experience." But in the coming months, he would hear fresh reports about what had gone on behind the scenes on Justice League, including the "angry Black man" conversation and other allegations involving Johns: Two individuals who worked on Syfy's Krypton TV series talked to Fisher about events that had taken place on the series.

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.

Tweeting footage of himself praising Whedon at Comic-Con in 2017, Fisher wrote, "I'd like to take a moment to forcefully retract every bit of this statement." (His earlier words had been based on studio-supplied talking points, he says.) In a subsequent tweet, he said Whedon's on-set behavior had been "gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable," adding, "He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg." He did not elaborate.

"I just think it's fucked up that people released a fake Frosty announcement without my permission to try to distract from Ray Fisher speaking up about the shitty way we were treated on Justice League reshoots," he wrote.

He says Hamada "called Joss an asshole," and said, "I'm just looking to get past anything to do with Justice League.

Joss isn't here anymore and I don't plan on hiring him again." But according to Fisher, Hamada said he did not believe Johns had done anything wrong.

But Geoff — Ray, he's really getting dragged through the mud and I'm sure you're getting your share of hate, too." Fisher responded, "I'm fine with the hate because I know I'm telling the truth." He asked for an investigation.

Later that month, the studio's HR department contacted Fisher; he says he spoke with two executives for about two hours.

When he spoke to the investigator, Fisher asked how many times he had worked for the studio.

Fisher asked who was overseeing the inquiry and said he would have an issue if it was the executive named by his contact; he still got no answer.

Fisher then got a call from Berg, who said he was sorry the actor had an "appalling experience" on Justice League and he hadn't been able to help.

Fisher has falsely claimed, or render any judgments about the Justice League production, in which Mr.

Christy Haubegger — head of communications at WarnerMedia and the company's top inclusion officer — said the studio's statement that Fisher had refused to cooperate with the investigation had been based on "third-hand" information.

Pressed by Fisher, Haubegger declined to say who at the studio had approved the statement, but she said she was "furious" when she read it.

Ultimately, Haubegger told Fisher, "I don't think that if people said something they believed was true that there's an apology needed.".

After the studio put out the statement accusing him of not cooperating, what Fisher calls "the hit piece," he asked for another investigator.

In December, Fisher says that he and his SAG-AFTRA rep had a final conversation with Forrest during which she said remedial action had been taken, some of which she said Fisher had probably seen, but she was not explicit.

But she told Fisher she did not find evidence of racial animus

(Warner Bros. chairman Ann Sarnoff said in a recent interview that the investigator found "the cuts made in the Joss Whedon version of Justice League were not racially motivated," but Forrest didn't say that publicly.) To Fisher, the information Forrest shared was so limited that it seemed the purpose was clear: "She was only authorized by WarnerMedia to attempt to explain away anything to do with race." Warners maintains it has "complete confidence in the investigation process and her conclusions."

Fisher said he would not provide witnesses

In February, he tweeted that Hamada was "the most dangerous kind of enabler" who had shown that he would "blindly cover for his colleagues" and had worked with the studio to "destroy a Black man's credibility, and publicly delegitimize a very serious investigation, with lies in the press." (Fisher says he was referring to the September statement that Fisher had refused to cooperate with the investigation, which he feels Hamada must have known about in advance.)

Fisher believes this missed the bigger picture: While he accused Hamada of "undermining" and "tampering" with the investigation in a series of tweets, he says these were specifically in reference to the conversation he had with Hamada in which the executive tried to dissuade Fisher from pursuing his grievances against Johns

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