Over the weekend, #IStandWithRayFisher was trending on social media, as a response to the latest developments in the Justice League investigation. To recap: on July 1, Fisher, who plays Cyborg in Justice League alleged that Joss Whedon was “gross, abusive, and unprofessional” while reshooting Justice League, and that he was “enabled” by DC Films honchos Geoff Johns, and Jon Berg (who have both since been removed from their positions). Last month, WarnerMedia, Warner Brothers’ parent company, said they were opening an investigation into the matter. Now, however, there is a he said/they said back-and-forth between Fisher and Warner Brothers, which is when #IStandWithRayFisher started up, and now Jason Momoa is the first Justice League cast member to publicly side with Fisher on the matter.
Until there is reason not to, I believe Ray Fisher. And I don’t think his withdrawing from talking to the investigator has anything to do with this being a “hoax” or anything like that. When the investigation was first announced, it sounded like WarnerMedia, the parent company, would be overseeing the investigation. Fisher himself said “WarnerMedia has officially launched an independent third-party investigation” (emphasis mine) when the investigation was announced last month. In the latest development, Fisher alleged that current DC Films boss Walter Hamada tried to get him to back down on the Geoff Johns claim by “throwing Joss Whedon and Jon Berg under the bus”. Though no longer the Chief Creative Officer of DC, Johns is still deeply embedded at DC, working on everything from comics—where he remains a popular writer—to film and TV shows.
DC Films, meanwhile, responded with a very creepy public statement that definitely sounds like a studio trying to bully a star into compliance, saying in part, “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.”
Fisher’s first film credit is Batman v Superman and his first starring role is in Justice League, so they’re trying to make it sound like the newbie didn’t know how things work and got ahead of himself in the creative process. Again, I don’t doubt Fisher and I don’t think this matter is as simple as “dude didn’t get his way”. But it has turned into a he said/they said situation. In the ongoing back-and-forth over the weekend, Fisher clarified he cut short a conversation with the investigator because, it seems, the conversation was not what he expected. In the original announcement of an investigation, it really sounded like WarnerMedia would be running the show, but Fisher clarifies that the investigator who contacted him works for and reports to Warner Brothers, so the studio is being allowed to police themselves. Not only would I not trust that to lead to any meaningful resolution and not just a Cover Our Ass job, but it’s not what was expected. This is an important matter, I wouldn’t want to be surprised by things like this, either.
Perhaps with Jason Momoa, a fellow cast member—and one who has an ongoing film franchise to his name, not someone easily dismissed—taking Fisher’s side, WarnerMedia will be influenced to step in and clean this mess up. This has become a situation that needs a lot more sunshine, and at this point, the only people who can shine enough light on it are at WarnerMedia. I don’t trust that the movie studio is interested in honestly finding out what happened, and not just intimidating Fisher into towing the line and sweeping the whole thing under the rug. If the choice is between an individual and a corporation, I’m always going to side with the individual. Now it’s on the corporation to offer some clarity beyond blaming Ray Fisher for, I don’t know, standing up for himself? We still don’t know what happened! Fisher shouldn’t have to carry this by himself, it’s on Warners to clarify what happened and make any amends necessary.