April 19, 2021

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Ray Fisher alleges ‘Justice League’ execs didn’t want ‘angry Black man’ at film’s center

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Ray Fisher is continuing to speak out about alleged inappropriate conduct on the set of 2017’s “Justice League.”

The actor, who accused the film’s director Joss Whedon of “gross, abusive” behavior on Twitter in July, made allegations against other top executives involved in the superhero film to The Hollywood Reporter in an article published Tuesday.

Among the latest allegations, Fisher claims he learned that former DC Films co-chairman and “Justice League” producer Geoff Johns, then-DC Films co-chairman Jon Berg, Warner Bros. studio chief Toby Emmerich and other top executives expressed concerns about having “an angry Black man” at the center of the movie, which underwent sunnier revisions after director Zack Snyder stepped away from the project

According to Fisher, Johns dismissed the actor’s concerns after telling Fisher to play his character Cyborg like Quasimodo from “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” 

Actor Ray Fisher, left, and Joss Whedon. Fisher, who played Cyborg in the DC Comics film, “Justice League," tweeted in July that director Whedon's treatment of the cast and crew was “unprofessional and completely unacceptable.”

“I didn’t have any intention of playing him as a jovial, cathedral-cleaning individual,” Fisher told THR. “It was like he was assuming how Black people would respond rather than taking the advice from the only Black person – as far as I know – with any kind of creative impact on the project.”

Fisher added: “That was the last creative conversation about anything that Geoff Johns and I had. I knew I was on my own.”

Johns’ representative denied to THR that the producer dismissed Fisher’s concerns and said “adding joy and hopefulness to all six superheroes” became a priority after the chairman of the studio requested the movie have a brighter tone.

Joss Whedon accused of ‘gross, abusive’ behavior by ‘Justice League’ actor Ray Fisher

“There are always conversations about avoiding any stereotype of race, gender or sexuality,” the rep added.

USA TODAY has reached out to reps for Johns, Berg, Warner Bros. and Fisher for further comment.

Former federal judge Katherine Forrest, who conducted an investigation into Warner Media over Fisher’s claims, said in a statement that she “found no credible support for claims of racial animus or racial or disability insensitivity.”

Forrest added that she and her staff reached out twice to everyone Fisher asked them to as well as every cast and crew member on “Justice League” who wanted to speak with them.

In a statement to USA TODAY, Johns’ ex-wife Anissa Dorsey stood by her former spouse, saying she “will always believe he is innocent of these racist stories and fictitious allegations against him.”

“I am a proud, beautiful, strong and intelligent black woman from Louisiana and I ran to California to escape real racism,” she said. “Geoff has enjoyed and been a part of a black family since 2000 and someone’s bad feelings cannot erase that time nor the truth.”

Hours after the THR article published, Fisher reacted to the allegation again on Twitter.

“They didn’t want ‘an angry black man,’ ” he wrote. “They ended up with a motivated one. I’m not going anywhere. Accountability>Entertainment”

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THR reports that “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot also encountered inappropriate conduct while working on “Justice League.” According to unnamed sources, the tension between Whedon and Gadot came to a head when Whedon threatened Gadot’s career and disparaged “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins.

In a statement to THR, Gadot said, “I had my issues with (Whedon) and Warner Bros. handled it in a timely manner.” The outlet reports she and Jenkins met with then-Warners chairman Kevin Tsujihara following Whedon’s comments.

USA TODAY has reached out to reps for Whedon and Gadot for further comment.

Fisher told THR that his main motivation for speaking out is to “make people aware of who they’re dealing with” in the entertainment industry.

“I don’t believe some of these people are fit for positions of leadership,” he said. “I don’t want them excommunicated from Hollywood, but I don’t think they should be in charge of the hiring and firing of other people.”

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Charisma Carpenter also came forward with mistreatment allegations against Whedon earlier this year.

“Joss has a history of being casually cruel,” Carpenter wrote in a lengthy Twitter statement in February. She went on to describe alleged incidents of abuse and unprofessional conduct, including “passive-aggressive” threats to fire her and calling her “fat” when she was four months pregnant. 

Whedon has not responded to Carpenter’s allegations publicly.

Hours after Carpenter’s statement, her “Buffy” co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played the title role, wrote on Instagram that she doesn’t want to “be forever associated with the name Joss Whedon.”

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