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Joss Whedon has publicly addressed allegations of misconduct on the set of Justice League for the first time.
In a profile published Monday in New York magazine, Whedon responded to allegations from actors Ray Fisher and Gal Gadot about mistreatment during reshoots for Justice League, which Whedon oversaw after the departure of original filmmaker Zack Snyder due to the death of his daughter, Autumn.
In the summer of 2020, Fisher, the actor who played Cyborg in the film, accused Whedon of “abusive, unprofessional” behavior on set. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published in April 2021, Fisher recalled feeling he had “to explain some of the most basic points of what would be offensive to the Black community.”
Aquaman actor Jason Momoa has backed Fisher, while Wonder Woman actor Gadot said Whedon threatened her career. Whedon, who rose to prominence by creating the fan-favorite TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was also accused by star Charisma Carpenter of “hostile and toxic” behavior on the set of that show.
In Monday’s New York piece, based on interviews that took place last spring, Whedon repeatedly denied or dismissed allegations of past cruel or insensitive conduct. He also addressed his interactions with Fisher on Justice League.
Whedon’s theatrical cut of Justice League heavily minimized the role of Fisher’s Victor Stone/Cyborg and in New York, the filmmaker said he simply did not feel Fisher gave a good performance.
“We’re talking about a malevolent force,” Whedon said of Fisher. “We’re talking about a bad actor in both senses.” (Fisher did not comment for the New York piece.)
In March 2020, Snyder revealed his four-hour cut of Justice League on HBO Max. Much of Fisher’s performance was restored, and the actor earned praise from audiences for being the emotional cornerstone of the film.
Whedon also denied Gadot’s claims that he threatened her career. “English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech,” Whedon said of the Israeli actor.
He said he joked about a scene she wanted to cut, noting she’d have to tie his body to a train track to cut it.
“Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track.”
Reached by New York, Gadot disputed Whedon’s versions of events, telling the magazine in an email, “I understood perfectly.”
Buffy star Carpenter claimed in February 2021 that upon learning she was pregnant, Whedon asked if she was “going to keep it” and “manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me.”
Speaking to New York, Whedon acknowledged regrets.
“I was not mannerly,” he said, adding, “Most of my experiences with Charisma were delightful and charming. She struggled sometimes with her lines, but nobody could hit a punch line harder than her.”
Whedon’s career has been in freefall since Fisher first commented about his experiences on the set of Justice League. He left his HBO series, The Nevers, as showrunner and has no future projects on the horizon. The New York magazine story marks the first time Whedon has commented on the allegations. Previously, an attorney and a spokesperson for Whedon denied some of them following an interview Fisher gave to Forbes in early 2021.
Fisher, who is currently appearing in the ABC civil rights miniseries Women of the Movement, responded to the New York article Monday after its publication, which fell on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Wrote the actor on Twitter: “Looks like Joss Whedon got to direct an endgame after all… Rather than address all of the lies and buffoonery today—I will be celebrating the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tomorrow the work continues.”
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