Since last June, Ray Fisher — who plays Victor Stone, a.k.a. Cyborg, in Justice League — has spoken out against the mistreatment that he, his castmates, and crew members had to deal with during extensive reshoots of Justice League when the film’s director, Zack Snyder, stepped away due to a family tragedy and was replaced by Joss Whedon, whose duties were overseen by 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.
Fisher has publicly admitted that any and all support he gave to Joss Whedon when doing press for Justice League was complete bullsh-t, that Whedon exhibited abusive and unprofessional behavior towards him and others on set, that neither Johns nor Berg were willing to do anything to stop it, and that Walter Hamada (the current president of DC Films) recently spoke to him and was willing to throw Joss Whedon and Jon Berg under the bus if he would shut up about Geoff Johns and leave him be. (Which Ray refused to do). He’s also spoken out about how Hamada undermined him and the investigation by WarnerMedia into what happened during the Justice League reshoots by denying that he ever said such things to Fisher about betraying Whedon and Berg to protect Johns, and also denying that Fisher was even participating with the investigation in the first place, though Fisher would prove the latter accusation to be a false one. And not too long after Hamada was interviewed by the New York Times about his job as DC Films president, Fisher tweeted this about him …
Walter Hamada is the most dangerous kind of enabler.— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) December 30, 2020
His lies, and WB PR’s failed Sept 4th hit-piece, sought to undermine the very real issues of the Justice League investigation.
I will not participate in any production associated with him.
This caused many people to wonder about Fisher’s future in the DCEU as Cyborg and with Warner Bros. in general, regarding any other roles in their films or television shows not based on comic books. Despite Fisher calling out several of the articles written about him and his dispute with Hamada and Warner Bros. (articles that Fisher and people in the DCEU fandom have viewed as hastily-written hit pieces by reporters on Hamada and Warner Bros.’ payroll published in response to his tweets and which were meant to decrease Fisher’s legitimacy in the eyes of the public), Fisher posted this two-page announcement on his Twitter page yesterday evening.
Please Read.— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) January 13, 2021
In this announcement, Fisher stated that his appearance as Cyborg in The Flash was not a brief cameo but a supporting role, which many fans assumed, partly due to this reference to Cyborg from the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover episode of The CW series The Flash, where Grant Gustin-as-Barry Allen meets Ezra Miller-as-Barry Allen for the first time ever. Fisher noted that Hamada attempted more than once to minimize and dismiss Fisher’s claims of the misconduct and racism on the Justice League set that Whedon and Johns were responsible for due to his need to mostly protect Johns and “to move beyond” anything to do with Zack Snyder and his version of the film, and that if necessary, he was willing to take a polygraph test to support his claims against Hamada.
DCEU Twitter became very upset upon reading about this, and they soon began using the hashtag #IStandWithRayFisher (which isn’t a new hashtag, as it’s been present on Twitter since Ray began speaking out last year), and also pointing out the lack of support and discussion about Fisher’s ordeal from bloggers and from Film Twitter, who made so much more noise when they thought that Christopher Nolan was refusing to let cast and crew members sit down on the sets of his films.
Ray Fisher had to endure months of Joss Whedon’s abusive behavior, Jon Berg & Geoff Johns enabling and racism after threatening Fisher’s career and livelihood.— Walt (@UberKryptonian) January 14, 2021
Walter Hamada needs to fucking go. WB has been trying to break one man to protect their abusers.
This needs to stop.
In case you were wondering the lengths they were willing to go to shut down Ray Fisher, they literally made up an entire movie just to say he was lying.— Walt (@UberKryptonian) January 14, 2021
They used his co-star and friend's name in an attempt to paint everything as copacetic and that Ray was delusional.
Ray Fisher deserves better. More people need to be speaking out in defense of him. He just got removed from "The Flash" movie because he exposed toxic people and racism in a workplace, which was confirmed during an investigation. He proved it and now he's being punished. https://t.co/Lyp4OMDK9d— Norman D. Golden ll (@NormanGoldenll) January 14, 2021
last year john boyega stood up for black lives & said he feared that his career would be on the line, this year after ray fisher spoke up about racism in the work place he lost job opportunities, why is it that we should fear our livelihoods when we speak up to protect ourselves? pic.twitter.com/U0RBJaU9LN— jamal ❄️ (@reggiegotlag) January 14, 2021
He may no longer be Cyborg, but this man is truly a hero. ✊🏾✊🏾 https://t.co/S03YhOSe5f— JimmyThrée Comedet (@James3rdComedy) January 14, 2021
Ray Fisher is a victim of abuse, racism, and gaslighting in the workplace.— meg. (@wondermeg_) January 14, 2021
He shouldn't have to keep repeating the same painful story over, and over.
He shouldn't have to be so brave, and courageous.
But he is.
WB get Hamada out. #IStandWithRayFisher
Interesting how the ones who have spent the last 8 yrs trashing Zack Snyder to hell and back because he did Superman "wrong" are the very first ones to either stay silent or call Ray Fisher a liar who's just looking for attention. #IStandWithRayFisher— lady_le_fay 💙🦇❤ (@Lady_Le_Fay) January 14, 2021
.@ray8fisher thank you for all that you have done! For all the talks we have had, your love for the character, fans, and most importantly for standing up for what is right! I think it’s only fitting I share this video we filmed a few years back. A>E #IstandwithRayFisher pic.twitter.com/mi9K7HRdiW— Jason Laboy Photography (@Jason24cf) January 14, 2021
What happened to Ray Fisher, even what happened to my brother, shows how broken the entire industry is about accountability & how desperately they protect the status-quo.— Omer K. Farooqi (@OmerKFarooqi) January 14, 2021
Real change is needed when you see a young Black actor get fired from a role for simply highlighting abuse.
(This particular tweet was partly in reference to Sheraz Farooqi, a former contributor to Forbes magazine who recently interviewed Ray Fisher about his dispute with Joss Whedon and Warner Bros., only for Whedon’s representatives to contact Forbes and deny what was written, which soon resulted in Farooqi’s article being re-edited and his contract with Forbes terminated.)
There have also been people on Twitter and on the rest of social media wondering why more of his castmates, particularly Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, and Gal Gadot, haven’t spoken up in support of Fisher about the misconduct that happened on set, even though Fisher had previously said that he was willing to handle this himself since he has less to lose career-wise and told his castmates not to say anything just yet. Several actors have shown their support for Fisher, including Jason Momoa, Karen Bryson (who plays Elinore Stone, Victor’s mother, in the soon-to-be-released Snyder Cut of Justice League), and Kiersey Clemons (who also appears in the Snyder Cut of Justice League as Iris West, investigative reporter and Barry Allen’s love interest). Gal Gadot, while doing interviews to promote Wonder Woman 1984 before its release, recently admitted that she had issues with Whedon as well when they worked together, and that she took steps to deal with that.
Although she declined to elaborate further, Gadot acknowledged she had her own “experience” with the director, which was resolved to her satisfaction. “I’m happy for Ray to go out and speak his truth,” says Gadot. “I wasn’t there with the guys when they shot with Joss Whedon — I had my own experience with [him], which wasn’t the best one, but I took care of it there and when it happened. I took it to the higher-ups and they took care of it. But I’m happy for Ray to go up and say his truth.”
Considering that Gadot was in Wonder Woman and starred as the title character in what was then the most financially successful and critically acclaimed DCEU film during the time of the reshoots, it makes sense that Warner Bros. would do everything possible to make her happy by resolving any complaints she would have against Whedon or anyone else on set, which is clearly the opposite in terms of the response that Fisher has been getting. Affleck was more than willing to tweet the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag in support of Zack Snyder back in 2019, and Gadot was willing to do the same as well. Miller isn’t on social media, and despite Henry Cavill being accused by the most extreme and avoid-at-all-costs members of DCEU fandom of being a snake who doesn’t support Snyder because he didn’t use the hashtag on his Instagram page, his appearance at the Man Of Steel watch party to help Snyder announce the upcoming release of the Snyder Cut on HBO Max was more than enough to show everyone that Cavill was in Snyder’s corner the whole time, even if he wasn’t being performative about it on social media. So time will tell if and when Fisher’s colleagues will be very loud in letting Fisher know that he’s not alone, and letting the rest of the world know that he really is telling the truth and deserves to be supported.
The fact that Ray Fisher as Cyborg won’t be appearing in the feature-film version of The Flash is one of many speed bumps that this film has had to deal with ever since it was greenlit to go into production.
Rick Famuyiwa was originally chosen to direct the film (and one of his ideas for the film that stuck was to include Cyborg in a supporting role), but creative differences with Geoff Johns resulted in his departure, followed by his visible delight at the box-office failure of Justice League compared to the monumental success of Black Panther. Seth Grahame-Smith was hired afterward to take over duties as writer and director, only he ended up leaving as well due to creative differences.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were approached about writing the screenplay for The Flash and possibly even directing it while they were on production hiatus from Solo: A Star Wars Story, but those talks fell through. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were then hired to take over as directors, but their ideas for the screenplay wound up being rejected, which led to them run away from the film and make Dungeons & Dragons instead.
Until finally (?), It: Chapter One and It: Chapter Two director Andy Muschietti was approached to take over the director’s chair and as of this writing, he’s still on board. As for who will be writing the screenplay, that job went to Christina Hodson, who wrote Birds Of Prey, and is also working on the screenplay for the Pirates Of The Caribbean reboot starring Margot Robbie.
Then there’s the matter of Ezra Miller being accused of assaulting a woman on video last year (whether it actually was assault on Miller’s part or overenthusiastic roughhousing between the two of them has yet to be officially determined, as Miller still hasn’t commented on the matter). Fans are still wondering if Kiersey Clemons will still be playing Iris West when the film goes into production instead of being recast for some Vanity Fair It Girl who has, in the words of Paul Mooney, the complexion for the protection. And the repeatedly delayed start dates for production due to all of this f-ckery, as well as Miller’s involvement with the Fantastic Beasts films, has made fans wonder if The Flash will ever actually go into production and become an actual film that will open in movie theaters when it’s safe to open all movie theaters again. (Apparently, production for The Flash is scheduled to start in April, and aiming for a release date of November 4, 2022)
Despite his contract recently being renewed for two more years, there are now plenty of people in the DCEU fandom who strongly feel that Walter Hamada needs to go as his continued employment as president of DC Films has now caused any and all goodwill for the DCEU and its future to begin dwindling rapidly, to the point where fans are now saying that they intend on boycotting and ignoring The Flash and any other upcoming DCEU films (the notable exception being Zack Snyder’s Justice League) because of how Fisher has been treated by WarnerMedia. Considering how 2020 was a successful and essential year for Warner Bros./DC in making fans feel enthusiastic again (the release of Birds Of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984, the announcement that Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League will finally see the light of day, the online conventions Justice Con and DC Fandome and how effective they both were in whetting the appetites of DC fans), the very last thing that Warner Bros./DC needs or wants is for that goodwill to disappear and for their output to be plagued once again by horrible buzz, negative reviews, and behind-the-scenes gossip that harms their reputation like the days of 2016 and 2017, thanks to the theatrical versions of Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League.
Of course, it also doesn’t help that this tweet from last year by Warner Bros. about how much Black lives matter, much like the Black Lives Matter tweets from The CW, really didn’t age well, as evidenced by the many recent Quote Tweets that are now reading Warner Bros. for filth.
“Somebody has to stand when others are sitting. Somebody has to speak when others are quiet.” - Bryan Stevenson— Warner Bros. (@warnerbros) May 31, 2020
We stand with our Black colleagues, talent, storytellers and fans - and all affected by senseless violence. Your voices matter, your messages matter. #BlackLivesMatter
And not surprisingly, The Hollywood Reporter already posted a response this morning to Fisher’s tweet, which has raised some eyebrows on Twitter for the headline alone and the choice of using the word “attack” to describe what Fisher has been saying about Hamada and Warner Bros., as if to make him look like the ruthless aggressor in all of this against the innocent multi-billion-dollar movie studio that has done nothing wrong and has handled this entire situation with the utmost care.
WarnerMedia is sticking by Walter Hamada even as the DC Films president faces a new and continued attack from Ray Fisher, the actor who played Cyborg in 'Justice League' https://t.co/q4AJBzg0bS— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 14, 2021
“I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation,” said WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff in a statement. “Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation’s process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity. As I said in Walter’s recent deal extension announcement, I’m excited about where he’s taking DC Films and look forward to working with him and the rest of the team to build out the DC Multiverse.”
WarnerMedia issued a separate statement apart from Sarnoff that summed up its side of the proceedings. It said its “extensive” investigation was “conducted by an outside law firm, led by a former federal judge who has assured WarnerMedia that there were no impediments to the investigation” and that the company was moving on from giving Fisher the chance to reprise his Cyborg role in an upcoming Flash movie, “given his statement that he will not participate in any film associated with Mr. Hamada”; and that it remains in business with Johns, who is an executive producer on shows such as Stargirl, Batwoman, and Doom Patrol, among others.
As for Ray Fisher and what’s next for him …despite the claims by some people on the Internet that his career is over and that he’ll never work in Hollywood after what he has said and done, who still believe that he is lying because he hasn’t given enough specific details about what he experienced on set and because he hasn’t spilled enough tea to fill the Grand Canyon, even though he has probably signed non-disclosure agreements that prevent him from doing so until this entire situation is fully resolved, and whose first response to someone who says that they’ve been abused and/or harassed in or out of the workplace should be “I believe you” and not “You need to show me the receipts, and then maybe I’ll believe you,” it was recently announced that Fisher will be appearing in the ABC limited series Women Of The Movement, about how Mamie Till-Mobley spent her life seeking justice for the murder of her son, Emmett Till. Fisher has also had a few directors show their support for him on Twitter (including Gina Prince-Bythewood, who directed The Old Guard, Love & Basketball, and will also be directing the first episode of Women Of the Movement, and Matthew Cherry, who won an Oscar last year for his animated short film, Hair Love), and it’s no secret as to how incredibly fond that Zack Snyder is of Ray Fisher and his work. If the Snyder Cut of Justice League is as successful for HBO Max as WarnerMedia and the DCEU fandom hope it is when it finally airs in March, some conversations may need to be had as to whether we’ve really seen the last of Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and if Walter Hamada, Geoff Johns, and Toby Emmerich are really worth any further headaches for the future of DC Films.
And quite frankly, a lot of conversations still need to be had about the misconduct that happens on the sets of movies and television shows against many other Black actors and actresses (and anyone that works on the sets of movies and television shows who isn’t an able-bodied White man), and how the only response to said misconduct from the people who run these studios is this…
Header Image Source: Warner Bros.