Ray Fisher Isn't the First Person to Publicly Call Out Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon was accused of workplace abuses by Justice League cast member Ray Fisher on Wednesday. But this isn't the first time that the screenwriter and director has been accused of behavior that runs contrary to his once-sterling industry reputation.

In a tweet, Fisher, who played the superhero Cyborg in the 2017 DC Extended Universe movie, described Whedon's on-set treatment of both cast and crew as "gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable," further calling out producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg for enabling the director's behavior.

Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.

He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.


— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) July 1, 2020

Whedon, who is credited as co-screenwriter on Justice League, was brought in to oversee reshoots and post-production after original director Zack Snyder stepped down due to a family tragedy.

As the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and director of the first two movies in Marvel's Avengers series, Whedon was both a blockbuster hitmaker and a nerd icon, with a reputation for promoting feminist values in his work. Previously a supporter of organizations like Equality Now and the 2009 recipient of a lifetime achievement award for his Humanist values by Harvard University, Whedon's progressive bonafides were upended by 2017 accusations leveled by his ex-wife Kai Cole in a guest blog written for The Wrap.

"I want to let women know that he is not who he pretends to be," Cole wrote in the article. "I want the people who worship him to know he is human, and the organizations giving him awards for his feminist work, to think twice in the future about honoring a man who does not practice what he preaches."

Joss Whedon at the Hollywood premiere of 'Bad Times At The El Royale' in 2018. Photo by Gabriel Olsen/WireImage

Married in 1995, Cole was with Whedon throughout the early stages of his career and exposed alleged infidelities the director had while on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

"'When I was running Buffy, I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women,'" Cole recalled Whedon writing her. "'It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth. Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet and I can't touch it.'"

According to Cole, Whedon subsequently admitted to multiple affairs that he had hidden throughout the course of their marriage, which ended in 2016, in addition to "inappropriate emotional" affairs with "actresses, co-workers, fans and friends."

In conversations recalled by Cole, Whedon allegedly rationalized his behavior by describing it as "'the HEIGHT of normal'" within the context of the wider culture, which he described as teaching men to be simultaneously domestic providers and sexual conquerors.

"'I was pulling off both!'" Cole described Whedon saying.

"I believed, everyone believed, that he was one of the good guys, committed to fighting for women's rights, committed to our marriage, and to the women he worked with," Cole wrote. "But I now see how he used his relationship with me as a shield, both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist."

While Cole's accusations—which a representative for Whedon claimed contained inaccuracies and misrepresentations—undoubtedly damaged what she described as his "lovable geek-feminist" public persona, Whedon continued to secure high-profile projects, including an upcoming series called The Nevers for HBO. But in concert with the latest accusations of workplace abuses by the Justice League cast member, Whedon's private infidelities and alleged public abuses may inspire more material consequences.

Newsweek has reached out to Whedon's representation at the Creative Artists Agency seeking comment and additional context in regard to both Fisher and Cole's accusations, but did not hear back by time of publication.