Since it was first announced by director Zack Snyder that he would be releasing the director’s cut of Justice League on HBO Max sometime next year, Ray Fisher, who plays Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg in the film, has been using his Twitter page to speak out against a lot of the misconduct that occurred behind the scenes when Snyder was forced to step away from the film due to a family tragedy and writer/director Joss Whedon was recruited by Warner Bros. to take over his duties as director and handle reshoots to complete its production. Fisher also let the world know that any word of support he may have had for Whedon and how production of the film was handled during those reshoots was nothing but 100% bullsh-t.
Yesterday afternoon, Forbes posted an interview with Fisher, who spoke to contributor Sheraz Farooqi about specific incidents that caused him to speak out against Joss Whedon, as well as producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg, the producers who were in charge of running DC Films for Warner Bros, until the box-office failure of Justice League.
“What set my soul on fire and forced me to speak out about Joss Whedon this summer was my becoming informed that Joss had ordered the complexion of an actor of color be changed in post-production because he didn’t like the color of their skin tone,” Fisher firmly stated. “Man, with everything 2020’s been, that was the tipping point for me.” Whedon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As to why he retracted his original statement of support for Joss Whedon taking over as director of Justice League that got the ball rolling in the first place…
Fisher went into detail on why he felt the need to retract the statement, citing how fabricated talking points were distributed to the cast of heaping praise on Whedon as Snyder’s replacement.
“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 began. “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.”
After Zack Snyder left Justice League’s production in early 2017 following a family tragedy, Warner Bros. Pictures brought in Joss Whedon to conduct reshoots that heavily altered the original film. The cast of the film was taken aback by the things that happened in Snyder’s absence. Yet, the cast was not aware of how bad things were about to get.
“You’ve got to understand, Zack stepped away to be with his family, and we wanted to give him space to do that,” Fisher said. “He and I didn’t speak for about a year after he left.”
Fisher went on to explain how the abusive and unprofessional atmosphere 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 stated. “Decision-makers that participated in those racist conversations were Geoff Johns, Jon Berg, and current Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich.” Emmerich, Berg, and Johns did not immediately respond for comment.
“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 alleged.
“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 pointed out to Forbes. “I plan getting much more specific about each of these guys after the investigation is over—this interview is just the abridged version,” Fisher further clarified.
While Fisher was already aware of the alleged whitewashing, he didn’t become aware of these racist conversations until after he started speaking out.
“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.”
Fisher went into further detail during the interview about the misconduct he had experienced and been informed about by other cast and crew members on set. And much like previous instances where he had spoken his truth and stressed the importance of accountability over entertainment, there were those who continued to support and believe him, and then there were those who insisted that Fisher wasn’t telling the truth, or that he was still being way too vague and needed to share more explicit details in order to be taken seriously.
Some are asking where is Ray's proof? His proof is that he was on the set. It amazes me how some question first hand sources but are quick to believe their favorite scooper who has second or third hand sources. #IstandwithRayFisher— The Sage (@WordsOfSage) October 29, 2020
Given how many people of color were removed from the theatrical cut of Justice League I am not at all surprised by the racist behavior behind the scenes Fisher talks about. Disappointed as always, but not surprised.— Richard Newby (@RICHARDLNEWBY) October 29, 2020
Almost everyone with even a toe in entertainment has a “Joss Whedon is trash” story….hopefully this one sticks, and helps push back on an abusive culture at all levels.— Victoria Aveyard (@VictoriaAveyard) October 29, 2020
Ray Fisher is a brave, brave man. https://t.co/4MZ90x7RNv
Ray Fisher is the “perfect victim” Hes done everything by the book and followed all the rules one should follow when in his position and even then look how hard its been for him to get justice against people CLEARLY in the wrong.This is why ppl don’t speak up #IstandwithRayFisher pic.twitter.com/l6XmTnA4bx— Mercury#GBTZ (ΡΞϚ´) (@theSNYDERVERSE) October 29, 2020
FYI: The actors and characters whose scenes were either reshot or removed completely are Cyborg’s parents, Dr. Victor Stone and Dr. Elinore Stone (played by Joe Morton and Karen Bryson), Ryan Choi a.k.a. The Atom (played by Zheng Kai), Iris West (played by Kiersey Clemons, and who is expected to reprise her role in The Flash opposite Ezra Miller), and U.S. Secretary of Defense Calvin Swanwick a.k.a. The Martian Manhunter (played by Harry Lennix).
If Chris Evans said the same thing about this happening on the set of Avengers no one would question if he’s lying or “ask for proof”— Amateur Watcher #TPZ (@OhioDavee) October 29, 2020
Anne Hathaway: Nolan doesn't allow chairs (define: hierachical, exclusive chairs for him/his stars) on set, he's one of my favourite directors and his work ethic is inspiring.— Cal (@wyattyhalpert) October 30, 2020
Twitter: ABUSIVE, SATANIC MAN
Ray Fisher: Joss Whedon is abusive, racist and unprofessional
But things got a little more complicated when representatives for Joss Whedon decided to respond to Fisher’s interview hours after it was published and come out swinging on behalf of Whedon.
The role of Ryan Choi, played by Zheng Kai, was cut. Joe Morton, who played Cyborg’s father Silas, had his role mostly cut and reshot. While Zack Snyder included a diverse cast of characters, many of them had roles significantly altered, or disappeared from the film altogether before it arrived in theaters. Karen Bryson, who played Cyborg’s mother Ellinore, had her role cut as well. Additionally, Kiersey Clemons, who played Iris West, was removed from the film. All of them will appear in 2021’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League. According to representatives for Whedon, these decisions were made prior to his taking control of the project.
A representative for Whedon said: In fact, simple research would prove that it was false. As is standard on almost all films, there were numerous people involved with mixing the final product, including the editor, special effects person, composer, etc. with the senior colorist responsible for the final version’s tone, colors, and mood. This process was further complicated on this project by the fact that Zack shot on film, while Joss shot on digital, which required the team, led by the same senior colorist who has worked on previous films for Zack, to reconcile the two.
Shortly after that statement was made by Whedon’s representatives, the original interview was re-edited, not only to include said statement but to completely remove Fisher’s quote regarding Whedon allegedly lightening an actor of color’s complexion during post-production.
Some people on Twitter couldn’t help but take note of the fact that Whedon felt the need to remain silent about every other accusation brought to light against him about his conduct on the set of Justice League, but not about this. But Fisher himself stated during his interview with @wondermeg_ and @TheNerdQueens for the DCEU-themed online convention JusticeCon that if anything he was saying against Whedon or Johns or Berg was false or libelous, they were more than welcome to pursue legal action against him and take matters from there. And so far, none of them have done that.
And to those who think that Fisher hasn’t been telling the truth about any of this, he also had this to say:
“You really have to ask yourself, what’s more plausible—that I would purposely torpedo my career by making statements about powerful figures in Hollywood, that, if untrue, could be easily refuted. OR a handful people in positions of power said and did terrible things in order to maintain that power during a massive corporate merger.”
As to what else we should further expect from Ray Fisher, Joss Whedon, Joss Whedon’s representatives, and Warner Bros. about this newest development and when we should expect it, all I can say is this …
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