Strap in, folks, because in the words of The Dude from The Big Lebowski: “This is a very complicated case…lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.”
Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in 2017’s Justice League, has spent this summer bringing forth allegations that there was a “toxic and abusive work environment on the set” of that film – specifically calling out Joss Whedon (who stepped in to direct reshoots after Zack Snyder left the production) and producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. A few weeks ago, Warner Bros.’ parent company, WarnerMedia, launched a third party investigation into Fisher’s allegations.
Late Friday night, Warner Bros. released a statement accusing Fisher of not cooperating with that investigation and painting the actor in an unfavorable light. Well, if we’ve learned one thing over the past few months, it’s that Ray Fisher is not the type to take things lying down. So yesterday, he posted a 15-minute video response to this latest volley, saying, among many other things, “Shame on [WB] for doing that,” and explaining how their statement “backfired on them in a big way.” Get a recap of this situation and read Fisher’s response below.
Warner Bros.’ Accusation
On September 4, Fisher posted this tweet, referring to Walter Hamada, the President of DC Films:
(For those who don’t know, Geoff Johns is a producer of several movies at DC and has long been one of the company’s top comic book writers.)
Fisher’s tweet was posted on Friday afternoon, and late that night, The Hollywood Reporter published a lengthy statement from Warner Bros. that supported Hamada and condescendingly painted Fisher as a naive neophyte who doesn’t understand how filmmaking works. I’ll republish WB’s statement in full, but trust me, you’ll want to read Fisher’s rebuttal below.
Here is WB’s statement:
“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.”
Ray Fisher’s Rebuttal
In the wake of the THR story, Fisher tweeted this:
Then, on Labor Day, he posted a 15-minute Instagram Live video in which he presents his side of the story and thoughts on the whole situation in greater detail. You can watch the entire thing for yourselves right here, but I’ve transcribed several of the most relevant quotes and will present them for you now.
“I’m in shock and awe that Warner Bros. would have even had the audacity to put out a statement like that,” he said. “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.”
“It was a bold move by them…to say that I was attempting to avoid the investigator or not cooperate with the investigator. It’s the worst kind of spin that you can put on a situation like this, because I’ve got the receipts to prove that at every step of the way, there’s been clear communication as to what it is that we’ve been attempting to do. They put themselves in a really weird place. I’m not gonna lie. And it really sucks, because ultimately what’s going to happen is somebody’s going to get thrown under the bus for that statement they put out. If you notice, in that statement, there was not a single quote from [DC Films chief] Walter Hamada. There was not a single quote from anyone. It was a blanket PR statement that was put out. What I said about Walter Hamada throwing Joss Whedon and Jon Berg under the bus is absolutely true, but as seems to be the way, they probably intend to throw somebody’s poor assistant under the bus for being the one that had to press ‘send’ on that email. That’s unfortunately how it goes. It’s really gross. But the only way to cut through the PR spin is to hit it with hard fact and hard evidence, and to let people know you’re not playing games. It’s a really weird game. It’s a sad and desperate game. But it’s a predictable one. They are simply being reactionary now, which is obviously not a good look.
[Hamada’s] excuse for the situation with Geoff Johns was, ‘Well Ray, I worked with Geoff on Shazam. I don’t really think that he would do that sort of stuff.’ And I go, ‘Walter, you weren’t there. You weren’t. I’m telling you. You were not there when the man used back channel communication to call me into his office and make a veiled threat to my career. You weren’t there for that.’ I said, ‘You weren’t there when Geoff Johns contacted me in 2018, a year and a half after Justice League while I was shooting True Detective, using back channel communications to gloat that there’d be another Cyborg being used in the DC Universe in a show that he’s producing.’ I said, ‘Walter, you weren’t there for those things. You can’t tell me about it.’ Finally we got to the heart of all that stuff, and I realized that clearly, it’s a situation wherein Walter was attempting to protect Geoff Johns because of his continued business partnerships, such as Wonder Woman 1984.”
He says he had a two hour conversation with the Vice President of the human resources department at Warner Bros. in which he gave them information and recommended people they should interview about this situation.
“The fact is, I’ve got so many details that I can put to these stories and I’m willing to do it face to face,” Fisher explained. “So when having to combat that with generalized statements, generalized press releases, it’s an impossible task for them to do. So, since they’ve opened up the can of worms, there are going to be certain things that I’m now going to be saying publicly – not about the specific experiences in Justice League, but in how things have been handled up until this point since I’ve come out with my allegations about Joss Whedon, Geoff Johns, and Jon Berg.”
He also explained that he’s not backing down:
“I’m going to keep fighting the good fight, but I’m going to fight it with hard fact. I’m not going to fight it with emotion, like they’re probably wanting me to do. I’m going to fight it with hard fact. I’m going to fight it with logic. I’m going to fight it with common sense. Because, obviously, that’s the only thing that can cut through the nonsense.
If they are hoping that I sue them so that they can go ask a judge to put a gag order on me until all this stuff is done, they’ve got another thing coming. I don’t care what the situation ends up being, you’re not going to keep me quiet. That, and because I haven’t given them all the information, they’re trying to figure out who’s telling me what, what I know, and what I’m willing to say. Because I haven’t run it by them – I haven’t run it by anybody prior to me saying some of the things I’ve been saying – they don’t know what I’m going to say next or how I’m going to respond. So, they tested the waters with that statement, and I think people saw through it immediately. It backfired on them in a big way. Because when I can furnish receipts to immediately refute critical pieces of information that you’re trying to use to defame me, you’re toast.”
Fisher says WB has “escalated it to a different level now,” and he’s going to figure out what the next best steps are to move forward. Again, all of this is very difficult to parse right now from the outside looking in, but as always, we hope that justice prevails and the truth comes to light soon.
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