After months of silence, Joss Whedon has publicly addressed allegations of misconduct on the set of Justice League from stars Ray Fisher and Gal Gadot, as well as accusations of mistreatment from Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Charisma Carpenter.
In a lengthy profile published by New York magazine Monday, Whedon confronted a controversy that has tarnished his reputation as a feminist and progressive ally. In addition to revealing that he has been in therapy for the past few years dealing with complex post-traumatic stress disorder from a damaging childhood, the writer-director largely denied or downplayed Fisher, Gadot, and Carpenter’s allegations.
With regard to Fisher, who accused Whedon of “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” behavior after he took over for Zack Snyder as the director of Justice League, Whedon said he felt the actor did not deliver 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’s role as the high-tech hero Cyborg was cut down considerably by Whedon, who said the story line “logically made no sense.” He also maintained that he spent hours cordially discussing his changes to the film with Fisher.
Representatives for Fisher did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment. The actor did tweet about Whedon on Monday, however, writing, “Rather than address all of the lies and buffoonery today â€” I will be celebrating the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” (Monday marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day.)
Fisher’s allegations prompted an investigation from Warner Bros., the studio behind Justice League, which concluded in December 2020. The studio said at the time that “remedial action has been taken” but did not provide details. WB did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment Monday.
Earlier this year, Fisher’s costar Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman in WB’s superhero films, said Whedon threatened her career on the set of Justice League. But speaking to New York, Whedon chalked it up to a communication error.
“English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech,” Whedon said of Gadot’s interpretation of events. He recalled joking about a scene Gadot wanted him to cut and quipping that she’d have to tie his body to a train track to get him to do so. “Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track,” he said.
In response to Whedon’s explanation, Gadot told New York, “I understood perfectly.” Representatives for Gadot didn’t immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images Joss Whedon
Charisma Carpenter, who portrayed Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the spin-off Angel, also publicly took issue with Whedon earlier this year. In February she said in a statement posted on social media, “Joss has a history of being casually cruel. He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly.”
She went on to allege that Whedon called her fat when she was four months pregnant, harassed her about whether she was “going to keep it,” and ultimately “unceremoniously” fired her from Angel after she gave birth.
Speaking to New York, Whedon acknowledged regrets and missteps from his Buffy and Angel days. “I was young,” he said. “I yelled, and sometimes you had to yell.”
Regarding Carpenter’s allegations, Whedon said he “was not mannerly” after learning she was pregnant but denied calling her fat. “Most of my experiences with Charisma were delightful and charming,” he said. “She struggled sometimes with her lines, but nobody could hit a punch line harder than her.”
Representatives for Whedon did not immediately respond to EW’s request for further comment.