Filmmaker Joss Whedon has broken his silence over multiple allegations of misconduct by him on productions he oversaw, including the 2017 film “Justice League” to his influential TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
In a lengthy interview with New York magazine that published on Monday, Whedon denied Gal Gadot’s allegation that he “threatened” her career while working on “Justice League,” which Whedon took over after original director Zack Snyder withdrew from the film following a family tragedy.
“I don’t threaten people. Who does that?” Whedon told New York. “English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech.” Whedon said he told Gadot that she would have to tie his body to a railroad track before he would cut a scene she wanted removed, and that Gadot misunderstood as Whedon threatening to tie her to a track instead. Gadot’s response in the story: “I understood perfectly.”
Whedon is less forgiving in his assessment of Ray Fisher. The actor’s July 2020 allegation that Whedon’s behavior making “Justice League” was “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” was the spark that led to the collapse of Whedon’s career. In December 2022, Warner Bros. said an investigation into Fisher’s claims resulted in unspecified “remedial action” — weeks after HBO said Whedon was withdrawing as executive producer of “The Nevers.”
Fisher also alleged in a Forbes interview from October that he was told Whedon had lightened an actor of color’s complexion in “Justice League” because he didn’t like the skin tone — which Forbes later retracted. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter published April 2021, after the release of Snyder’s four-hour cut of “Justice League” on HBO Max, Fisher alleged that when he tried to express his concerns about the reduction of his character, Cyborg, in Whedon’s two-hour version of the movie, Whedon told him, “It feels like I’m taking notes right now, and I don’t like taking notes from anybody — not even Robert Downey Jr.”
To New York, Whedon says he had brightened the entire movie, including all the actors faces, and that he talked with Fisher for hours about his changes. He says he significantly cut down Fisher’s screen time because Cyborg’s storyline “logically made no sense” and that Fisher’s performance was lacking. He denied Fisher’s allegations, saying none were “true or merited discussing.” Instead, Whedon claimed that Fisher’s actions were done in bad faith, meant to sully Whedon’s reputation to reconstitute Snyder’s in advance of the release of the Snyder cut.
“We’re talking about a malevolent force,” Whedon said. “We’re talking about a bad actor in both senses.”
Representatives for Fisher did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Variety.
Fisher’s allegations were followed in February 2021 by actor Charisma Carpenter’s allegation that Whedon was “casually cruel” to her while making “Buffy” and its spin-off series “Angel,” including calling her fat after she became pregnant, and asking her if she was “going to keep it.” Several other actors on those shows, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz, and Eliza Dushku, expressed support for Carpenter, and a subsequent investigation by Variety backed the actor’s story. Multiple people who worked on both shows saying Whedon created a “cult of personality” who behaved with scorn and disparagement to employees who displeased him. A person with direct knowledge of production on “Buffy” corroborated to Variety Michelle Trachtenberg’s claim on Instagram that there was a “rule” she could not be alone with Whedon.
More to come.