Stories of a troubled production and accusations continue to swirl around Justice League three years after its release, and one of the film’s directors is making his first public statement about the controversy. Following Ray Fisher’s recent claims in a Forbes interview, Joss Whedon, who oversaw the superhero movie’s reshoots, is responding.
Prior to the recent interview, Fisher began drawing public attention in July to what he has called a toxic work environment on the Justice League reshoots. And he singled Whedon out as “gross, abusive, and unprofessional” on the set. This week though, he gave his first anecdotal example of questionable behavior when he told Forbes he heard this summer from another source that Whedon “ordered that the complexion of an actor of color be changed in post-production because he didn’t like the color of their skin tone.”
It was a significant accusation, however one that was unsubstantiated by evidence or the actual attributed source of the claim. Now Whedon’s spokesperson has responded to EW about the claim.
“The individual who offered this statement acknowledged that this was just something that he had heard from someone else and accepted as truth, when in fact simple research would prove that it was false. As is standard on almost all films, there were numerous people involved with mixing the final product, including the editor, special effects person, composer, etc. with the senior colorist responsible for the final version’s tone, colors, and mood. This process was further complicated on this project by the fact that [original director] Zack [Snyder] shot on film, while Joss shot on digital, which required the team, led by the same senior colorist who has worked on previous films for Zack, to reconcile the two.”
The response calls into question the secondhand nature of Fisher’s accusation, which in court would likely be construed as “hearsay.” And on exact details, Fisher has yet to lay out the full specifics of his accusations, though they also involve producer Geoff Johns being accused of threatening his career and giving Fisher notes which the actor now tells Forbes were “just coded versions of the racist things” executives allegedly said behind closed doors.
Fisher reiterated this week he would be “much more specific about each of these guys” after the independent investigation set-up by Warner Bros. is concluded. WB’s sole public statement about Fisher’s claims, meanwhile, would seem to cast doubt on his cooperation in the investigation.
“Mr. Fisher insisted that WarnerMedia hire an independent third-party investigator,” WB said in a September statement. “This investigator has attempted multiple times to meet with Mr. Fisher to discuss his concerns but, to date, Mr. Fisher has declined to speak to the investigator.”
It is unclear if Fisher has since spoken with the investigator, but the actor told Forbes that the studio press statement was a “hit piece.” He also asserts he is fighting the “cover up culture of old Hollywood.”
We will have more as this story develops.