Fans of both “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” aren’t impressed by Joss Whedon’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct and verbal abuse on the set of both the famed 90s sci-fi show and the 2017 DC comics blockbuster in an interview with New York Magazine.
Whedon addressed claims of mistreatment by Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in “Justice League” but who saw his role in Whedon’s version severely reduced. Whedon claimed that his discussions with Fisher about Cyborg’s screen time had been respectful and that he had made the decision to cut down that screen time based on responses from test audiences.
“We’re talking about a malevolent force,” he said. “We’re talking about a bad actor in both senses.”
That line set off fans of the Snyder Cut on Twitter, who have praised the long-awaited redo of “Justice League” that Snyder and Warner Bros. released on HBO Max last year for restoring Cyborg’s status as a key role in plot. After Fisher’s performance was hailed by fans as one of the best parts of “ZSJL,” Whedon’s attempt to use test audiences against the actor were seen as tasteless.
So was Whedon’s defense to claims from “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, who said she spoke with Warner Bros. execs after Whedon threatened to make her “career miserable” while on the “Justice League” set. He told New York magazine that he had been joking about rather tying himself to a railroad track than get rid of a scene Gadot wanted to remove, which he claims Gadot heard as tying her to a track. “English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech,” he said. Gadot disputed this recollection to New York Magazine, saying she “understood perfectly.”
Beyond “Justice League,” Whedon is also getting scorn for his response to misconduct allegations stemming from his time as showrunner of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly.” Among the accusations made by former collaborators in the New Yorker story include one “Firefly” writer who recalled the showrunner spending an entire writers meeting mocking one writer’s dialogue and a member of the “Buffy” production team who quit after Whedon repeatedly made out with young actresses in her office (something he denied).
While Whedon said he regretted his actions while working on “Buffy,” he told New York that he felt “powerless” to resist having personal relationships with women on set and that he felt he would “always regret it” if he didn’t have sex with them.
The general consensus from those who have read the story seems to be that if Whedon was hoping to rebuild his image by doing the interview, his attempt has backfired. Others point out that Whedon’s claims that Fisher, Gadot, and others who have accused him are doing so mistakenly or in bad faith are outweighed by the sheer number of people who have spoken out against him.