Ray Fisher, who was cast as Cyborg in Justice League, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter said that former DC Films co-chairman and Justice League producer Geoff Johns, ex 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 centre of the Justice League movie.
In 2020, Fisher who also played Cyborg in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) opened up about his experiences with director Joss Whedon took over from director Zack Snyder during the post-production. The actor had accused Whedon of “gross, abusive” behavior on Twitter in July 2020.
Whedon had overseen the reshoots, editing, and visual effects on Justice League for Snyder, who had stepped aside after the death of his daughter.
In his latest interview, Fisher talked about his discomforts with Whedon and said, “I didn’t have any intention of playing him as a jovial, cathedral-cleaning individual. 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.”
“That was the last creative conversation about anything that Geoff Johns and I had. I knew I was on my own,” Fisher said.
The actor said that Johns threatened his career when he spoke up about his treatment during the reshoots. Fisher alleged that after his agent reached out to Warner studios chief Toby Emmerich about his treatment, Johns asked Fisher if he wanted to make “a bad name for [himself] in the business”.
After the interview was published, Fisher reiterated his side of the story on Twitter. “They didn’t want ‘an angry black man’. They ended up with a motivated one. I’m not going anywhere. Accountability>Entertainment,” he wrote.
Fisher told The Hollywood Reporter that he felt the need “to explain some of the most basic points of what would be offensive to the Black community” to Whedon. The example he cited was his character saying the catchphrase “Booyah”.
“It seemed weird to have the only Black character say that,” Fisher said.
He alleged that under Whedon’s direction he had to say the catchphrase “booyah”, and it was used in the film as well. However, the line was not used in Snyder’s cut of the film.
Fisher’s initial comments led WarnerMedia to launch an investigation into accusations of misconduct during the filming of Justice League. On December 11, WarnerMedia announced it had completed the investigation and had taken “remedial action”.
In February, Whedon was also accused by Charisma Carpenter, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and three other actors of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of bullying and abuse of power.