Joss Whedon denies that he threatened Gal Gadot on set while filming for Justice League. Whedon is a well-known writer and director of TV and film, with a reputation for his distinct style and witty dialogue. The filmmaker has worked on iconic science-fiction and fantasy TV series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, but his biggest recent project was Justice League, when he took over from Zack Snyder to complete photography and work on re-shoots. Justice League was badly reviewed and remains poorly regarded among the DC fandom, while Zack Snyder’s Justice League (a.k.a. the Snyder Cut), which was subsequently released following a long fan-campaign, has been hailed as a superior version of the film.
Since working on the DCEU project, Whedon has taken a step back from the Hollywood spotlight after multiple colleagues accused him of being verbally abusive and emotionally manipulative throughout his career. Those who have spoken out about the filmmaker include Gadot, her Justice League co-star Ray Fisher, and Buffy and Angel star Charisma Carpenter, who all complained about the director’s abusive behavior. The complaints led to an investigation by WarnerMedia, which reportedly contributed to his stepping down as showrunner of HBO’s The Nevers. Meanwhile, Ben Affleck described working on Justice League as “the worst experience,” calling it the “nadir” of his long career, and Jason Momoa has said that “serious stuff went down” during the film’s reshoots.
Now, in an interview with Vulture, the director defends himself from Gadot’s accusations. The actor, who portrays Wonder Woman in the DCEU, previously stated that Whedon had “threatened” her and told her that he would make her “career miserable.” He admits to arguing over a scene she wanted cut, but denies any threats were made and credits her account to misunderstanding, saying that “English is not [Gal Gadot’s] first language.” Check out Whedon’s quote below:
I don’t threaten people. Who does that? […] English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech […] Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track.
Whedon’s defense is likely to be badly received. The director’s comments fail to acknowledge any wrongdoing and instead blame Gadot’s ability to understand the English language, which she disputes in the same article by claiming she “understood perfectly.” His statement also has the potential to reignite the original disputes, as actors may feel the need to restate their accounts of events in order to make their positions clear.
A lot of attention will now be focused on the Justice League actors who have spoken up about Whedon’s unacceptable behavior, and whether they decide to respond to the filmmaker’s defense. Gadot has already done so, and any others who decide to join her are likely to receive a lot of support. Whedon was once one of Hollywood’s most respected and powerful figures, but his own actions have left marks on his reputation. If he is really to restore his reputation, should it be possible, he will need to do more than shift all blame away from himself.