In an interview with Forbes published today, Fisher again reiterated prior complaints that the cast was mistreated during the reshoots on the film after Whedon took over from original director Zack Snyder. However, Fisher amplified his prior comments by indicating racial issues played a part in the decisions that led to his claimed mistreatment.
“The erasure of people of color from the 2017 theatrical version of Justice League was neither an accident nor coincidence,” Fisher contended in the Forbes interview with contributor Sheraz Farooqi, citing several changes, including the diminishment of his screen time. The allegations add a new angle to prior complaints about toxic conduct by Whedon and other executives on the film.
It should be noted that in addition to his work at Forbes, Farooqi is the Editor-in-Chief of online publication ComicBook Debate, where he has described Snyder’s work as “masterful.”
Warner Bros. has denied his prior allegations, and claimed Fisher did not cooperate with the studio’s investigation of his claims.
Of particular concern to Fisher in his Forbes interview were statements made during a 2017 ComicCon panel that praised Whedon. Fisher later retracted his public comments.
“For one thing, the cast and crew were told that Zack had handpicked Joss to finish the film for him. I didn’t find out until after the reshoots that that was a complete lie.” Fisher told Forbes. “I heard whispers and rumblings of things being off behind the scenes, but nothing concrete until much later. They had us go out to San Diego Comic-Con in 2017 and say Zack picked Joss and that Joss was a great guy. I still have the email with those talking points.”
Fisher amplified his complaints, claiming the abusive and unprofessional atmosphere on the set was cultivated behind closed doors even before Snyder departed the project.
“Prior to Justice League’s reshoot process, blatantly racist conversations were had and entertained—on multiple occasions—by former and current top level executives at Warner Bros. Pictures,” Fisher claimed. “Decision-makers that participated in those racist conversations were Geoff Johns, Jon Berg, and current Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich.
“I realized that the notes I ended up getting from Johns during reshoots were just a coded version of the racist things he was saying with behind closed doors with the other execs,” Fisher said.
“A lot of what these guys were doing was in an effort to prevent themselves from being fired during AT&T’s merger with Time Warner,” Fisher added. “I plan getting much more specific about each of these guys after the investigation is over—this interview is just the abridged version.
“These conversations were reported to me by people in the room. And I wasn’t made aware until AFTER I had already spoken out about Joss Whedon. None of what I’m sharing in this interview is news to Warner Bros. HR, nor should it be news to WarnerMedia. I reported almost everything to them back in July—including Emmerich’s involvement,” Fisher said.
“The fact that I’m having to advocate for myself in this way is equal parts freeing and frustrating. I always suspected that race was a determining factor for the way that things went down, but it wasn’t until this past summer that I was able to prove it,” Fisher said.
He added that race was only the tip of the reshoot iceberg. He cited threats and unsafe working conditions, among a long list of complaints.
“Geoff Johns made a veiled threat to my career during the LA reshoots of Justice League,” Fisher said. “Multiple sources have informed me, that Joss threatened the career of another person associated with the production. Toby was made aware and tried to cover for Whedon rather than deal with the abuse. That situation had to be escalated to Tsujihara to get any results.”
Fisher’s complaints have been supported by Aquaman star Jason Momoa, who also slammed Warner Bros in an online statement via Instagram.
Ultimately, Fisher hopes that change will come from his complaints.
“My goal is to have these people not be decision makers for the content that influences our world,” Fisher began. “These guys have been in Hollywood a long time. Their problematic behavior didn’t start with the AT&T merger, but I’ll be dammed if it doesn’t end with it.”
Sept. 5: Ray Fisher has responded to a statement from Warner Bros. over his complaints about “gross, abusive” conduct on the set of Justice League. Fisher appeared as “Cyborg” in the film.
On Friday, the studio issued a statement claiming that Fisher was not responding to an investigator looking into his allegations that film director Joss Whedon was abusive.
Fisher tweeted out his reply this morning.
It’s also worth noting that I made it clear to the world on Aug 21st that I would be vetting the investigator to ensure a fair and protected process for all witnesses. @wbpictures has escalated this to an entirely different level, but I’m ready to meet the challenge.
— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) September 5, 2020
“Thank you all for the support and for seeing through @wbpictures desperate and scattershot attempt to discredit me to continue protecting those in power. I met with the investigator via Zoom on Aug 26th.
Thank you all for the support and for seeing through @wbpictures desperate and scattershot attempt to discredit me to continue protecting those in power.
I met with the investigator via Zoom on Aug 26th. Below is an email I sent to my team and @sagaftra immediately after:
— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) September 5, 2020
Sept. 4: Warner Bros. issued a statement tonight regarding an investigation it conducted on the Justice League production after complaints were aired by Ray Fisher, who played “Cyborg” in the film.
The investigation stems from Fisher’s tweet back on July 1, alleging director Joss Whedon’s “gross, abusive” conduct on set. Whedon stepped in to finish directing Justice League when director Zack Snyder left the production because of a family tragedy.
“Joss Whedon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable. He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Accountability>Entertainment,” Fisher tweeted back in July.
Today, Fisher tweeted out “So you can better understand how deep this goes: After speaking out about Justice League, I received a phone call from the President of DC Films wherein he attempted to throw Joss Whedon and Jon Berg under the bus in hopes that I would relent on Geoff Johns. I will not. A>E”
In response to Fisher indicating that he spoke with DC Films Boss Walter Hamada in his tweet, Warner Bros. came to the full defense of the executive, and clarified their situation with the Cyborg actor: Despite the studio bringing in a third party independent investigator to research what went sideways with the actor during the production of Justice League, “to date, Mr. Fisher has declined to speak to the investigator” according to a studio spokesperson tonight.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson issued the following statement tonight on behalf of the company:
“In July, Ray Fisher’s representatives asked DC Films President Walter Hamada to talk to Mr. Fisher about his concerns during the production of Justice League. The two had previously spoken when Mr. Hamada asked him to reprise his role as Cyborg in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Flash movie, together with other members of the Justice League.
“In their July conversation, 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. Mr. 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.
“Notably, Mr. Hamada also told Mr. Fisher that he would elevate his concerns to WarnerMedia so they could conduct an investigation. At no time did Mr. Hamada ever “throw anyone under the bus,” as Mr. Fisher has falsely claimed, or render any judgments about the Justice League production, in which Mr. Hamada had no involvement, since filming occurred before Mr. Hamada was elevated to his current position.
” 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. 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. Warner Bros. remains committed to accountability and to the well-being of every cast and crew member on each of its productions. It also remains committed to investigating any specific and credible allegation of misconduct, which thus far Mr. Fisher has failed to provide.”