In June of 2020, Ray Fisher put Joss Whedon and Warner Bros. on notice, accusing him of “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” conduct on the set of Justice League.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fisher opens up about the ensuing investigation into allegations of racism, and what he says is a cover-up of Whedon’s behavior after he replaced Zack Snyder on the set of the film in 2017.
Fisher says that when Whedon asked him for feedback to changes on the script, what Whedon really wanted was “fulsome praise.” He says Whedon cut him off, saying: “It feels like I'm taking notes right now, and I don't like taking notes from anybody — not even Robert Downey Jr.“
They continued to clash, and DC Films co-chairman Geoff Johns sided with Whedon, telling Fisher to play the Cyborg character less like Frankenstein and more like Quasimodo. “I didn't have any intention of playing him as a jovial, cathedral-cleaning individual,” he says.
His concern over the portrayal of the character mounted, but producers and Whedon seemed unconcerned. He tells THR 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.”
Eventually, after Fisher continued to share his concerns on social media, Warner investigated. But nothing ever came of it.
Katherine Forrest, a former federal judge who conducted the WarnerMedia probe, tells THR in a statement that in interviews with more than 80 witnesses, she found “no credible support for claims of racial animus” or racial “insensitivity.” A WarnerMedia spokesperson notes that the company “made extraordinary effort to accommodate Mr. Fisher's concerns about the investigation and to ensure its fullness and fairness” and has “complete confidence in the investigation process and Forrest's conclusions.” Other leaders at Warners claimed that Snyder was directing Fisher’s complaints in a bid to regain control of the film.
He says that he believes things need to change. “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.”
Allegations also emerged about Gal Gadot‘s dealings with Whedon. According to the report, an unnamed source said that Gadot had concerns with the revised version of Justice League, including “issues about her character being more aggressive than her character in Wonder Woman.”
He reportedly threatened to derail her career if she didn’t comply. A witness on the production reportedly said that Whedon was “bragging that he had it out with Gal” after one of the clashes.
All of this comes against the backdrop of multiple allegations of abuse against Whedon by female stars who claim he bullied and verbally abused them.