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Ray Fisher, WarnerMedia And The Need For Vigilance In Demanding Justice

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Ray Fisher

Ray Fisher won't be silent. The actor remains vigilant in his pursuit of justice after WarnerMedia Studios rejected his allegations of racism and misconduct on the Joss Whedon-directed Justice League set.

Fisher alleged that Warner Bros., a subsidiary of WarnerMedia, has been trying to impede an investigation into racially biased behavior on the film set, while studio executives dispute his claims.

The actor publicized his negative experience on the film set in July 2020 when he claimed director Joss Whedon had exhibited abusive behavior on set and was enabled by Warner Bros. producers.

Fisher, who plays Cyborg in the DC Extended Universe films, has claimed that cuts and edits were made to Justice League in an effort to diminish and undermine the role of Black characters.

"Apparently, some folks at WarnerMedia think that a room full of executives saying 'we can’t [have] an angry Black man at the center of the movie” (and then reducing/removing all Black and POC from that movie) isn’t racist," the actor wrote on Twitter. "Odd."

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Since his initial claims, the studio and Fisher have engaged in a very public game of he said, she said as Warner Bros. makes consistent attempts to discredit the actor.

In September, Warner Bros. fired back against Fisher's claims, saying the actor has refused to cooperate or meet with the independent investigator they claim he "insisted" they hire, a claim he disputes.

"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," a spokesperson for the company said in a written statement. "Warner Bros. remains committed to accountability and to the well-being of every cast and crew member on each of its productions. It also remains committed to investigating any specific and credible allegation of misconduct, which thus far Mr. Fisher has failed to provide."

Fisher has also said a non-disclosure agreement restricts him from airing the specific details of the allegations.

But the accusations aren’t the first of their kind against Whedon and Hollywood in general, and Fisher’s vigilante efforts are proof that time might finally be up for the powerful studios who consistently try to silence Black actors.

Fisher continues to accuse Warner Bros. of racist misconduct.

The latest development in the saga is Fisher’s criticism of the investigation into the allegations, as he continues to dispute comments made by WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff.

In a March 22 interview, Sarnoff defended the studios’ investigation and rejected Fisher’s claims that tampering had taken place.

“Our investigator, Judge Katherine Forrest, has issued statements specifically about [DC Films president] Walter Hamada, saying that there was no evidence of interference by Walter in the investigation,” Sarnoff said.

“She said that the cuts made in the Joss Whedon version of Justice League were not racially motivated. We took it very seriously, so we hired one of the top investigators out there and gave her a tremendous amount of leeway.”

Sarnoff also said she was unaware of an NDA that would prevent Fisher from sharing detailed allegation, to which a representative for Fisher responded, "Mr. Fisher is no longer under NDA and will comment further when appropriate to do so."

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Sarnoff went on to explain that the studio had attempted to rectify Fisher’s mistreatment by offering him a role in the upcoming standalone DC film, The Flash.

“There really was nothing that Walter did against Ray — in fact, he offered him a role in the Flash movie,” Sarnoff said. “Walter happens to be a person of color, so he knows what that feels like. He is bringing in diverse voices at an accelerated pace, more than anyone has in the past.”

However, Fisher has said his character was removed from The Flash film and has labeled the studio tone-deaf for attempting to use Walter Hamada’s race as justification for the silencing of another person of color.

The statement around Hamada's race exposes Warner Bros. ignorance about the nuances of racism by likening the experiences of different minorities.

Fisher labelling the statement "the absolute definition of tone deaf" speaks to how the experiences of racial minorities are often generalized and misrepresented.

Fisher's resilience reveals the high stakes Black actor's face in calling out racism.

Fisher also took to Twitter to call out the studio for distorting the truth and enabling what he perceives to be a culture of racism.

He continued to share details of how his character was removed from the film in behind-the-scenes conversations.

Fisher concluded by pointing out that WarnerMedia had not publicly disclosed the findings of the investigation.

As Fisher stated, Sarnoff’s interview noted what the investigation didn’t uncover, but failed to reveal what potential findings, if any, were discovered about misconduct on set.

The claims expose a power imbalance as one actor’s publicization of the toxic work environment has been repeatedly quashed, but Fisher has proven that he won’t be silenced as he continues to vocalize his concerns.

Fisher has been making claims of this nature relentlessly since mid 2020, yet little progress has been made. In fact, his vocal accusations were potentially part of what caused them to write his character out of The Flash as the studio failed to come to any reconciliation with the actor.

In taking on a leading director like Whedon and the countless WarnerMedia employees who have enabled his alleged behavior, Fisher is a one-man army in his continuing pursuit of justice.

Racial microagressions are proven to have a damaging impact on the mental and physical health of Black people.

It is for this reason that actors such as John Boyega have been vocal about the duty of care studios have in protecting Black actors from racial abuse.

Yet as WarnerMedia continues to reject Fisher's claims and sideline Black characters, it is clear that one actor alone cannot change the face of an industry perpetuating racism.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment.