Why is WarnerMedia supporting Walter Hamada? CEO calls him ‘man of integrity’ after Ray Fisher’s accusations
After ‘Justice League’ actor Ray Fisher leveled allegations of purposefully undermining a misconduct investigation against DC Films President Walter Hamada, WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff has issued a statement in support of Hamada’s "integrity" and respectful character. In a detailed public statement tweeted on January 13, Fisher also confirmed his official removal from ‘The Flash’ franchise as well as the entire DC Universe.
The conflict between Fisher and WarnerMedia goes way back to July 2020 when the Cyborg actor accused director Joss Whedon of abuse on the sets of ‘Justice League’. According to Fisher, Whedon was abusive to crew members during reshoots of the film. The investigation into Fisher’s complaint has been going on for months, during the course of which, both Fisher and representatives of Warner Bros. periodically engaged in conflict over Twitter and counter-statements.
Timeline of conflict between Fisher and WarnerMedia
Though initially both Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder were supposed to co-direct the 2017 film ‘Justice League’, Snyder had to step down due to a family tragedy. This officially gave the onus of the entire direction to Whedon. During the re-shooting of parts, Whedon allegedly displayed misconduct and abusive behavior, as claimed by Fisher. He wrote that Whedon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew was “gross, abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable.”
In his first tweet that brought the matter to light, Fisher also added that producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg were enablers of Whedon’s misbehavior. At that time, none of the three made any comments on the allegations.
Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) July 1, 2020
He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.
Fisher’s tweet created a furor that ultimately led to the launch of an investigation in August 2020. On September 4, 2020, Warner Bros. released a statement that accused Fisher of "non-cooperation" with third-party investigators. However, Fisher outright denied the claims by WB. His ‘Justice League’ co-star Jason Momoa, who plays Aquaman in the DC Universe, supported Fisher.
Further details were not revealed about the investigation and it is not clearly known when exactly it concluded. On December 11, 2020, WarnerMedia declared that they have taken "remedial action" following the outcome of the investigation. This declaration came around two weeks after Joss Whedon revealed that he was going to step away from his show ‘The Nevers’, created for WarnerMedia.
It was easy to connect the dots and assume that Whedon’s removal from the show was probably WarnerMedia’s ‘remedial’ measure.
What happened in 2021?
The conflict, however, was far from over. Fisher, who is quite active on Twitter, started an offensive against DC Films President Walter Hamada in the first week of January 2021. In a series of tweets and retweets, Fisher accused Hamada of trying to protect his friend Geoff Johns, who was co-accused, thereby compromising the integrity of the investigation.
In his detailed Twitter statement published on Wednesday, Fisher said with conviction that he was willing to undergo a Polygraph test to support his claims against Hamada.
In response to Fisher’s shocking allegations, WarnerMedia released the statement assuring of an extensive investigation into the matter by a former federal judge. They also mentioned specifically that Fisher would no longer be reprising his role as Cyborg in the upcoming movie ‘The Flash’ and will also refrain from joining any film associated with Hamada.
In addition, the statement mentioned that they will continue to work with Geoff Johns. The separate statement by WarnerMedia Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff read: “I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation." She added, “Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity.”