Justice League star Ray Fisher and Justice League studio Warner Bros. Pictures clashed again this week as both parties released statements attempting to clarify and explain Fisher's departure from Warner Bros. upcoming DC Comics film The Flash, in which he was set to reprise his role as Victor Stone, aka Cyborg.
The statements are the latest volley in an ongoing battle between Fisher and Warner Bros. over what really happened on the set of Justice League back in 2017, and how Warner Bros. handled Fisher's calls for an official investigation into his allegations of mistreatment and racism.
This particular chapter in the story began last week, when SYFY WIRE learned that Fisher would no longer be making a planned appearance in The Flash following a vow to refuse to work on any film associated with Walter Hamada, the current DC Films chief who, according to Fisher, made a "purposeful attempt to undermine" his requested Justice League investigation after taking over Warners' DC movie division in 2018.
In a lengthy statement posted to his Twitter account late Wednesday, Fisher confirmed that he would not appear in The Flash, claiming Warner Bros. had "decided to remove" him from the production.
“I strongly disagree with their decision, but it’s one that is unsurprising," Fisher wrote.
“Despite the misconception, Cyborg’s involvement in ‘The Flash’ was much larger than a cameo — and while I do mourn the lost opportunity to bring Victor Stone back to the screen, bringing awareness to the actions of Walter Hamada will prove to be a much more important contribution to our world.”
Fisher went on in the same statement to accuse Hamada of "contributing to the public dissemination of lies and misinformation" about him and the investigation into his Justice League allegations, and detailed an alleged phone call the two shared over the summer in which Fisher claims Hamada "disparaged" Justice League writer/director Joss Whedon (who replaced Zack Snyder to finish the film) and producer Jon Berg in order to "protect" Geoff Johns, who also produced Justice League. You can read the full statement below.
Warner Bros.' parent company WarnerMedia responded to Fisher's claim that the departure was the studio's decision with a statement of its own Thursday morning.
“Last summer, Mr. Fisher was offered the opportunity to reprise his role as Cyborg in ‘The Flash,'” the statement read, via Variety. “Given his statement that he will not participate in any film associated with Mr. Hamada, our production is now moving on.”
WarnerMedia Studios chair Ann Sarnoff also put out a statement of her own in response to Fisher's claims, backing Hamada.
“I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation,” Sarnoff said. “Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation’s process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity. As I said in Walter’s recent deal extension announcement, I’m excited about where he’s taking DC Films and look forward to working with him and the rest of the team to build out the DC Multiverse.”
The investigation Sarnoff refers to in her statement was originally spurred over the summer, when Fisher began speaking openly about what he deemed a "toxic and abusive work environment" that, he later elaborated, involved "erasure of people of color" during the making of Justice League, specifically leveling claims at Whedon, Johns, and Berg. In December, WarnerMedia concluded its investigation and announced that "remedial action" had been taken, though the company did not elaborate on exactly what that action was or who it applied to. Later that some month, Fisher stated his unwillingness to work with Hamada on any future films, and in his statement this week he explained that he still views his issues with Hamada as separate from the meat of the Justice League investigation itself.
"And while Walter's behavior was not a point of focus for the investigation of the Justice League reshoots," Fisher wrote, "his dangerous and enabling actions during the investigation process must be called to account."
The Flash is set to hit theaters November 4, 2022. Fisher will reprise his role as Cyborg at least one more time later this year in Zack Snyder's Justice League, featuring new footage recently shot by the director, when it arrives on HBO Max.