Cyborg actor Ray Fisher has always been outspoken about the discrimination people of color faced on the set of Justice League. However, after the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, that criticism has become all the more valid. It has shown how great the DCEU could have been with Zack Snyder at the helm instead of Joss Whedon; that too in a more inclusive environment. Moreover, it also exposed the negative effects of the interventionist nature of Warner Bros. studios. One fundamental difference between the 2017 movie and the Snyder Cut was how much time Fisher’s Victor Stone received in the latter. It fundamentally changed how the audience viewed Cyborg as well as Justice League. But, the reason why we didn’t see any of that in the 2017 Justice League was because of the executives.
Executives didn’t want an “angry black man” at the forefront of Justice League, reveals Ray Fisher
While talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Fisher opened up about the treatment he received while making the 2017 film. The 33-year-old actor discussed the changes Whedon made after he took over from Snyder. Apart from the changes, Fisher has accused Whedon as well as Warner Bros. executives of “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” behavior on set of the reshoots. Furthermore, Fisher also revealed that Producer Jon Berg had discussions with Warner Bros. Production President Jon Berg about avoiding an “angry black man” to be at the center of the film.
Furthermore, Fisher says the creators continuously ignored his creative input on his Justice League character all the time. Fisher recalled Berg telling him over lunch:
This is one of the most expensive movies Warners has ever made. What if the CEO of AT&T has a son or daughter, and that son or daughter wants Cyborg to say ‘booyah’ in the movie and we don’t have a take of that? I could lose my job.
And it felt weird to Fisher that the only black character in Justice League said “booyah”, as he stated:
It seemed weird to have the only Black character say that.Fisher told THR
However, Fisher gave in to the pressure and said “booyah” in Joss Whedon’s version of Justice League. However, that scene was cut out of the Snyder Cut.
In response to Fisher’s claims, Berg told Variety in a previous interview denying any claims of unprofessional behavior. He said Fisher was merely upset about saying the word, which was according to him, “a well-known saying of Cyborg in the animated series”.
The importance of Victor Stone in the movie
Zack Snyder and Ray Fisher both believed that Victor Stone was at the heart and center of Justice League. But, that was far from being the case after Joss Whedon took over. Screenwriter Chris Terrio said:
With a white writer and white director, we both thought having the perspective of an actor of color was really important. And Ray is really good with story and character, so he became a partner in creating Victor.Terrio
Fisher’s initial comments led to a WarnerMedia investigation into accusations of misconduct during the filming of Justice League, which concluded “remedial action” later. Moreover, in response to Fisher’s comments, a representative of DC Films co-chairman Geoff Johns said that they strived to maintain “joy and hopefulness to all six superheroes” and that:
There [were] always conversations about avoiding any stereotype of race, gender and sexuality.