Joss Whedon Threatened Gal Gadot’s Career During ‘Justice League’ Mess: Report

Laura Bradley
·4 min read
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Ray Fisher was apparently not the only Justice League cast member to clash with Joss Whedon. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the director—who stepped in to finish the film when original director Zack Snyder exited due to a family tragedy—fought with all the stars, including Jeremy Irons. He also allegedly had it out with Gal Gadot and threatened to harm the Wonder Woman actress’ career after she raised concerns about character consistency.

A “knowledgeable source” claims that Gadot worried about her character’s aggression in Justice League and “wanted to make the character flow from one movie to the next.” A witness told THR that the biggest conflict between her and Whedon arose when he pressed the actress to record lines she didn’t like: “Joss was bragging that he’s had it out with Gal,” the witness told the trade. “He told her he’s the writer and she’s going to shut up and say the lines and he can make her look incredibly stupid in this movie.”

THR reports that Gadot and Wonder Woman director Patti Jenkins, whom Whedon also allegedly disparaged, met with former Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara—who would later step down in the wake of misconduct allegations. Gadot told THR in a statement, “I had my issues with [Whedon] and Warner Bros. handled it in a timely manner.”

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For decades, Whedon has enjoyed praise as a feminist writer and director—but in recent years, various parties have challenged that reputation. In 2017, his ex-wife Kai Cole wrote a blog post for The Wrap calling him a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals” and alleging that he’d hid multiple affairs “and a number of inappropriate emotional ones,” including with actresses, colleagues, and fans. A representative for Whedon responded with a statement at the time: “While this account includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations which can be harmful to their family, Joss is not commenting, out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife.”

Last summer, Fisher came forward to allege that Whedon treated the Justice League cast in a “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” manner. Months later, the director exited the HBO series The Nevers—a decision he attributed to being unable to meet “the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic.” (The series debuts this Sunday.) In its own statement at the time, HBO said, “We have parted ways with Joss Whedon. We remain excited about the future of ‘The Nevers’ and look forward to its premiere.”

And in February, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel actress Charisma Carpenter came forward with her own allegations of bullying. “Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel,” Carpenter wrote. “While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers.”

Carpenter added that Whedon “has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career.” She described “his ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire me,” and alleged that he called her “fat” to colleagues when she was four months pregnant. “He was mean and biting, disparaging about others openly, and often played favorites, pitting people against one another to compete and vie for his attention and approval,” she wrote.

A representative for Joss Whedon did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment at the time Carpenter came forward. WarnerMedia, meanwhile, reiterated its statement that in the wake of Fisher’s allegations, the studio brought in an outside law firm to conduct an “extensive investigation... led by a former federal judge who has assured WarnerMedia that there were no impediments to the investigation.”

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That investigation concluded in December when the studio released a statement claiming “remedial action has been taken.” A representative told THR that for privacy and legal reasons, studio policy “is to not publicly disclose the findings or the results of an investigation.”

A WarnerMedia rep also provided The Daily Beast the full statement investigator Katherine B. Forrest gave THR, in which she wrote, in part, “My investigation involved more than 80 interviews, the review of thousands of pages of documents, and over 2000 hours of work by me and my colleagues. I and my staff reached out twice to every member of the cast and crew involved in the Justice League reshoots (more than 600 people), as well all of the individuals Ray Fisher specifically requested we interview. We spoke with every individual who would speak with us and all of the people that Mr. Fisher asked us to speak with. I found no credible support for claims of racial animus or racial or disability insensitivity.”

Representatives for Whedon and Gadot did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for additional comment.

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