In October of 2019, back when the country was most worried about whether or not the theatrical release of Joker would possibly lead to mass shootings, and then breathed somewhat easier as they saw fans show their appreciation by going to The Bronx so they could pose/dance on a staircase that was featured prominently in the film, The CW announced their plans to air a new series focused on Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman and the love of his life, investigative journalist Lois Lane, as working parents to two teenage boys. The series, called Superman & Lois, stars Tyler Hoechlin as Superman/Clark and Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois, who originally made their first appearances on Supergirl, which is airing its sixth and final season sometime next year.
Last Friday, Nadria Tucker, who has worked as a staff writer on Underground and as a story editor on Krypton, tweeted that after putting in months of work on the scripts for Superman & Lois while also pointing out problematic content in those scripts, she was released from her contract as a member of the show’s writing staff and fired from the show.
Some personal news: Wednesday I got word that my contract on Superman and Lois won't be extended, my services no longer needed, my outline and draft subpar (obviously I disagree with that last bit lol). This, after months of me flagging #metoo jokes in dialogue 1/2— Nadria✨👑 (@NadriaTucker) November 6, 2020
I've been assured by colleagues that I was great in the room, so I know I'm not nuts. I debated whether to post this but my own mental wellbeing demands that I do. The only way shit changes is to expose it. ❤️💙 /end— Nadria✨👑 (@NadriaTucker) November 6, 2020
When Nadria brought this to Twitter’s attention, some people were reminded of how there are many things about the Arrowverse shows (the shared universe of DC superhero shows that began with Arrow back when it premiered in 2012) on The CW that have been deemed disturbing and problematic over the years, and not nearly enough has been done to change some of those things. Which includes…
- The Flash didn’t always give Iris West the best storylines to work with, as well as Candice Patton (who plays Iris West and is the lead actress on The Flash even though many of the show’s fans insist that it’s actually Danielle Panabaker, whose own behavior has raised many an eyebrow) being left by both The CW and the media to twist in the wind regarding the many, many, many racist comments that she constantly gets on Twitter and Instagram.
Hartley Sawyer, who played Ralph Dibny a.k.a. Elongated Man being fired from the show earlier this year for making racist and misogynistic comments on his Twitter page. And Grant Gustin being called out by fans for having more to say about being body-shamed for how he looked in his costume and about the LGBTQIA+ community than about the racism and harassment his castmate has been dealing with since the show first premiered.
- Arrow and its treatment of Laurel Lance a.k.a. Black Canary (who is one of the most impressive and powerful superheroes in the DC Universe, and is a longtime romantic partner to Oliver Queen a.k.a. Green Arrow) by pushing that character to the side so that Felicity Smoak gets attention from Oliver and on the show itself, much of which has been blamed on Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim.
- Supergirl not giving James Olson (played by Mehcad Brooks) a lot of good material to work with either, to the point where Brooks left the show during its fifth season, along with the show seemingly relying a little too heavily on empty White Feminist rhetoric.
- Legends Of Tomorrow suddenly kicking two of their best characters, Ray Palmer a.k.a. The Atom and Nora Darkh (played by real-life spouses Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford) to the curb and not doing so in a manner that fans saw as very satisfying. Showrunner Phil Klemmer insisted that the characters’ time on the show had run its course, whereas the actors themselves didn’t agree nor was it their decision to even leave in the first place. And Caity Lotz coming off more than once as a White Feminist who really needs to take Aaron Burr’s advice and talk less.
- Andrew Kreisberg, who was an executive producer for nearly all of the Arrowverse shows, was suspended from this position after numerous allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate physical contact over several years were filed against him. Todd Helbing, who took over as sole showrunner for The Flash during its fourth and fifth seasons, has been viewed by some people in the Arrowverse fandom of being responsible for The Flash being as problematic as it is in terms of humor and diversity. And seeing as how he is now the showrunner for Superman & Lois, they are now expecting to see those same issues rear their heads once again on another DC series, as evidenced by what Nadria has been saying.
The one Arrowverse show on The CW that has been the least problematic and upsetting for its fans so far has been Black Lightning, largely because of its mostly African-American cast and crew, though its showrunner, Salim Akil, was recently sued for allegations of sexual abuse and domestic violence back in 2018.
When numerous companies and studios decided to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement this past summer after the murder of George Floyd and the protests that occurred as a result, many people on Twitter viewed this support as nothing more than an empty gesture, and that these companies were just telling us what we all wanted to hear without doing anything at all to back their words up with any substantial actions, such as hiring more Black employees for important roles in their companies, and also making sure that the Black employees they currently have would be treated with respect and not just used as window dressing to make themselves look good.
So when The CW went on Twitter to proclaim that Black lives matter and to show its support for the movement, the response was unanimous. And that response was…
From some of the tweets calling out The CW on their bullsh-t when it comes to how Black actors and writers are treated in the Arrowverse:
“Oh but do you really care. Aside from how your black employees are treated, do you not see the messages your shows bring? I recall supergirl pushing James and Kara to be together for an entire season, that was wiped away in one episode so supergirl could be w a white slave owner”
“I see a lot of pomp but no circumstance! This “open to all” mantra hasn’t been visible. Not in the way storylines are handled or protection for your black actors like Candice Patton. Not in the way your writers rooms are presented by majority whites. More action. Less talk!!”
“Then PROVE IT. Show actors/actresses like Candice Patton, Vanessa Morgan, Ashleigh Murray, Mechad Brooks, and SO MANY OTHERS that they can trust you to have their backs. That you’ll protect them from toxic fanbases and coworkers. That you actually RESPECT them as more than tokens”
“Dear TV Networks: Post the number of Black showrunners with shows currently on your airwaves alongside your Black Lives Matter tweets. I’m trying to see something.”
“But y’all sideline EVERY black character! why did a white girl get a show before Josie who barely got time in riverdale? Why was Iris sidelined for Police Brutality Patty and fans had to advocate for screen time? Don’t even get me started in the vampire diaries mess…..”
“Candice Patton on the Flash is one of MANY Black actresses who’ve worked for the CW and have, been subject to horrifying antiblack abuse and harassment, and has received NO help from anyone official in stopping that harm done to her. It’s been SIX YEARS OF THIS.”
“How can you support black artists when you didn’t support @candicepatton and @KatGraham when they were being harassed by racists??? You don’t give black characters nearly as much screen time even when they’re the so called main cast. Actions speak louder than words.”
“I really hope you’re reading the comments, because the truth is there. You have never done your part. I challenge you to do better. You know you need to diversify your showrunners and writers. Do it! Don’t put out a statement of support when you don’t act on it.”
The CW couldn’t help but notice how many tweets were calling them out for talking out of both sides of their mouth, so they soon tweeted this in response.
Words matter. The CW is committed to making our social pages a safe place for our fans and talent. We will not tolerate and will block racist or misogynistic comments as well as any hate towards the LGBTQ+ community. pic.twitter.com/TgqumGrnag— The Flash (@CW_TheFlash) June 15, 2020
Fortunately, regarding her tweets about being fired from Superman & Lois, Nadria has been receiving support from other television writers on Twitter…
Nadria, what Cam said. This town has a way of crushing every bit of joy out of us when it comes to the things we care most about. Please don't let that happen.— Doris_Egan (@Doris_Egan) November 8, 2020
Including Cameron Welsh, who was the showrunner for Krypton and worked directly with Nadria.
Nadria, I feel qualified to say that you add immeasurable value to writers’ rooms for the way you challenge the erasure and stereotypical portrayal of women and POC in the stories we tell. You have a unique voice and perspective — and I’d love to work with you again. 👊— Cam Welsh (@CamWelsh_) November 8, 2020
And as this story of a Black woman experiencing discrimination in Hollywood began to spread like wildfire, someone eventually brought this incident to the attention of Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in the theatrical cut of Justice League directed by Joss Whedon, who will once again reprise his role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League when it drops next year on HBO Max, and who has been butting heads with Warner Bros., Joss Whedon, producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg, and now with Forbes magazine after his interview with their contributor, Sheraz Farooqi, resulted in the article and its headline being edited and Farooqi’s contract with Forbes being terminated after Whedon and his representatives got in touch with them.
Hey, thanks for reaching out. I've been following your story and want you to know I support you and believe you! ❤️💙 We cannot let this behavior go unchecked— Nadria✨👑 (@NadriaTucker) November 8, 2020
As of right now, nothing has been said by Todd Helbing or anyone else from The CW in response to Nadria’s tweets. But with these issues from Superman & Lois being brought to light, we are all left to wonder two things: 1) Whether this show will end up having the same problems both on camera and behind the scenes that give the Arrowverse fandom many a reason to talk plenty of sh-t, and 2) if these same problems will make an appearance when Green Lantern and other DC shows begin going into production for HBO Max. Especially since Marc Guggenheim will be acting as co-showrunner for Green Lantern and the show, like many other Arrowverse shows on The CW, will be bankrolled and overseen by Greg Berlanti and his production company.
And to that, I say to the makers of Superman & Lois and to all other writers and producers working in the Arrowverse…
Header Image Source: The CW