So that happened... Whedon's “history of creating toxic and hostile work environments”

Apparently, in Hollywood, not so much as you’d think, since most cases where it was apparently the latter, turned out to be the former after #MeToo

I’m not making a comparison, I’m saying I have not a doubt in my mind that Gadot aquired the “hard to work with” moniker for the sexual reason. Note that Patty Jenkins doesn’t seem to find her hard to work with at all…

Big “If”…

… and he was refusing to do it because it was demeaning to his dignity as a young Black man.

If I have never in my life done that job before? Maybe it should be tolerated.

Let’s be clear, nobody is hiring a meat puppet for $10-$20m per film, which is what Gadot is earning these days. You pay that when the person brings something to the production beyond just saying the words she’s told to say.

When the person who has spent many months focused entirely on making Diana Prince become a beloved character on the big screen, says “this feels wrong”, you listen. Just like you listen when your senior machine operator, foreman, or team lead says “this feels wrong”. You don’t just tell them to shut their yaps and do as they’re told.

@planetcory gave a pretty good reason why it was problematic, not sure why you want to argue it with MrDibble. It might be because “booyah” has been so thoroughly coopted but what if the catchphrase Whedon wanted was “getting jiggy with it”?

Most cases? There weren’t actually actors who were difficult to work with?

To be clear, you are specifically accusing Whedon of threatening her career if she did not sleep with him? If so, please give anything to back that up. If not, then maybe rephrase in such a way as to not imply that this is the case.

Not that big an “If”. I spent a fair amount of my career being mocked by my higher ups for any mistakes or failures on my part. For an outright refusal to do my job as directed? I’d be pretty damn lucky if mocking was all I got.

There is nothing demeaning to anyone’s dignity in saying “Booyha!”

As far as catchphrases goes, I really don’t see that being an issue. Why didn’t Superman or Batman or Wonder Woman or the Flash or Aquaman have catch phrases? Because people knew who they were. They didn’t need one in order for the audience to connect with them.

I’d never even heard of Cyborg before I watched the movie.

Huh? I’m not sure what you mean, but the way that you have phrased your response is that if you have never done the job in your life before, then it should be tolerated that you should think that you know better how to do the job.

I’m assuming that that’s not what you meant.

Right, they are paying her a whole lot of money to say the lines that she is being told to say. Her skills are not in writing, they are in acting.

She brings a lot to the table, but writing is not one of the things that she is paid to do.

No, you do listen. You consider their perspective, their opinion. Then you make your decision with that input in mind.

However, if you, as the one who is actually responsible for the film, make a decision, then the actors need to follow that decision. After a certain point, yes, the decision is made, and they do need to do what they are told.

I’ve alway associated it with sports, and have, as recently as the last superbowl party I attended (2016, IIRC) heard the word used rather extensively when someone made a great play.

I’m sure you could have all kinds of hypotheticals that are not related to reality. What if the catchphrase had been, “I will kill your whole family!”

Pretty close minded. My hypothetical was trying to help you get it with a similarly old Black catchphrase. Whatever.

Yeah, I’m having a tough time with this one because, given some of the other stuff Whedon seems to have done, I’m inclined to give him absolutely zero benefit of the doubt.

But. If my Chief Medical Officer gives me direction with which I disagree, provided it is not illegal or unethical, I can debate it with him. I can cajole, plead, make PowerPoint presentations, compose logical haiku. And I know he respects and values my input and does not consider me a meat puppet, and in many cases I have succeeded in convincing him to change his mind. But if I can’t convince him, then I can either do what he says or quit my job. And if I choose to leave my job because I won’t take direction from the person whose main job is to give me direction, then that absolutely will affect my future career prospects.

(I guess I have a third option, by the way, which is to go over his head to the CEO - which basically is what it sounds like Ray Fisher did. But if the CEO backs my boss, then I’m back at square one - do it or quit. And going over somebody’s head is never going to be good for the relationship, and I’d expect a certain amount of snark from my boss if I had done that).

On the whole, I can’t judge Joss Whedon’s behavior negatively in either the Ray Fisher or Gal Gadot situations described above. I don’t judge Fisher or Gadot negatively, either - they expressed their opinions, were heard, ultimately did or did not not get what they wanted, and then went ahead and did their jobs like professionals (even if they weren’t happy about it). And then everyone left angry at one another, which happens sometimes.

That said, Joss Whedon appears to be a giant turd for myriad other reasons, so I can’t get all that worked up about defending him in this instance.

Most cases of women, yes, given what we know about both patriarchy, and its pervasiveness in Hollywood.

No, not at all. My response was to the idea that she was “hard to work with” at all, not specifically with Joss.

Do you also get mocked as you get made to shuck and jive?

Clearly Fisher felt differently.

Wait, I thought the story was that he had to say it because it was already established as that character’s catchphrase in the cartoon (at least to some CEO’s kid).

If he was an unknown character, there’d be no need for that, now would there? So you’re saying you think dumb catchphrases are how the audience is supposed to connect to new characters? Where is that for WW in BMvSM, or Aquaman in his film, when they were new characters?

And plenty of this movie’s audience know who Cyborg is. TT and TTG! are hugely popular shows.

I submit you and people are not synonymous.

So, your claim is that majority of the time, if a woman actor is said to be hard to work with, that is because she won’t sleep with the producer or director?

You said:

So if not Whedon, then who? And if not Whedon, then how does this even relate to anything that we are talking about here?

The person that she was not working well with was Whedon, so if it’s not because she wouldn’t sleep with him, but rather actual differences creatively and on set, then what does bringing up #metoo have to do with it?

Some people get along better than others, but I still don’t know why you would bring that up if you were not somehow trying to link Whedon to sexual abuse.

I missed the part where he was made to “shuck and jive”.

Clearly he did. But, there is a difference between feeling demeaned, and actually being demeaned. There is a difference between being mocked for not doing your job, and being mocked for being black.

I understand his perspective, but I don’t think that even he is as adamant that Whedon is as racist as some of the posters here are saying.

Exactly my point. He did not have previous film presence. This was the first time he ever showed up on film. The only thing that anyone knew about him was from the cartoon, and most filmgoers would not even know that.

WW has been a well known and established part of the collective culture for decades. Ask some random person on the streets if they know who Wonder Woman is, and I’d say that 95% have heard of her. Aquaman, a bit less, but still a solid majority.

Cyborg, I’d be surprised if more than 20% have heard of him as a DC character prior to Justice League.

And if they are popular shows, then why is it such a terrible thing to use a line from these popular shows?

Is the voice actor who plays Cyborg in these shows being demeaned?

I’d say that I’m synonymous, in this case, with 80% of people.

…not just for “not sleeping with the producer or director.”

In a lot of cases simply speaking up for themselves. The examples are countless.

I’ve come to the point that I simply disbelieve any alleged stories about women in hollywood being “difficult” to work with. Its been used as a weapon to destroy careers since the start of hollywood and as far as I’m concerned the burden is on the person making the claim and not the person who has to defend it.

What I intended to say is that if I have never done job X, and the person who does job X objects to doing job X in a particular way, then I should tolerate dissenting opinions. Joss Whedon is not an actor.

See, now this I really don’t accept. My boss has never done my job, and yet he can and does (and should) have final say in how my job gets done. Gregg Popovich was never a professional basketball player, and yet he spent decades telling Tim Duncan how to do his job. The skills required to do a thing, and the skills required to manage that thing, are not always the same.

And in this particular case, actors are very often bad at judging their own performances from an external perspective. That’s why the director even exists as a job! The director should of course listen to the actors, consider their perspectives, consider their opinions - but that doesn’t mean agreeing with them in every case.

Generally, yes but in this case it’s two things Whedon’s never done: act and be Black. This, I believe, is the first big DC film debut of a Black superhero and Fisher was adverse to making him the wisecracking goofball member of the crew, complete with dated catchphrase.

… or doesn’t put up with being condescended to, or do nudity, or any of a number of ways women are objectified and used in Hollywood. It’s not just about sex.

Ask DrDeth, he’s the one who brought it up, I was just responding:

I’m not. I’m linking him to being a known sexist dick.

Funny how that difference gets decided by only certain people…
And I haven’t said “Whedon is a racist”. Just happy to use the instruments of institutional racism for his own dickish goals.

And? It was the first time in a film for WW in BMvSM, and she didn’t have to do any stupid catchphrases. And I don’t recall the Flash spouting catchphrases, either.
So either a new character in film has to, or just the Black guy…

I think you are missing the comics themselves, and also underestimating the popularity of the cartoons.

There’s a huge gap between the crappy 60s show and WW in the new DCU. I doubt she was as popular or well-known as you think.

Right, one of the most popular characters on Cartoon Network’s most popular shows is a complete unknown.

Because they’re specifically kids’ shows.

It was also dumb when they did the “Holey Metal” joke in Batman&Robin.

Now, now, be fair - he did a lovely Dance of Joy as Numfar…

Yep, this is my stance too. I need to see video of a Bale-level freakout before I will even deign to listen to the same misogynist song.

This. I’m not particularly moved by the arguments that these stories evidence Whedon’s racism (though of course the fact that he’s a grade-A asshole, specifically towards women, is not news). But Gal Gadot is “hard to work with”? Maybe that’s true. But I am always going to assume that “hard to work with” is a label given to women who don’t cave in to asshole megalomaniac directors, unless real specific evidence is given to the contrary.

Also, I think that storyteller0910 makes relevant points about division of labor and responsibility in the workplace. When gender and/or racial differences come into play in that context, it adds another layer of complication. But the way to address those issues appropriately is, as a boss or manager, to have an open, collaborative process wherein you foster dialogue, and elevate others’ opinions. Just because you can shut down an opinion with “nope, don’t like it, gonna do it my way suckerz” doesn’t mean you should. Take the time to ask some questions, have a conversation. Maybe you still do things just the way you, as the boss, want to. But leave your coworkers with a sense that you heard and thought about their concerns (and of course, actually do hear and think about them).

At a bare minimum, this is what I think “hard to work with directors” fail to do: operate with a sense of collaboration and compassion and respect for everyone else involved with the project.

If you tell him that you disagree with doing the job a certain way, does he say “fuck you, if you don’t do it my way, I’ll have you fired and I’ll fuck with your future career on your way out”? I’m guessing not.

Part of the job is managing the relationship, and making the people you work with feel heard and respected. Failing to do that means you risk creating a hostile and toxic work environment.

There’s a very frank interview with the writer of Justice League here which gives some more detail on the issues various actors had with Whedon.

This is interesting on how the character of Cyborg was developed:

I wasn’t invited to the set, but obviously I know Ben, and I got to know Ray Fisher. We developed Cyborg together. Ray came to my apartment in the East Village, and he and I just would take long walks and talk about Cyborg and the responsibility of putting the first Black DC superhero in a movie onscreen. That was a big responsibility that we both understood and took very seriously. Remember, this was before Black Panther. There obviously have been some Black superheroes over the years, but none depicted with such a budget and such scale and in such a mainstream way.

Cyborg is the one character who can’t disguise himself. He lives in his skin. His otherness is a constant fact of his life. And that to me—and Ray and I discussed this—speaks about being a Black man in America. You cannot remove the otherness that people force upon you. And therefore Cyborg—when he becomes the hero that he always should have been and was meant to be, that felt like something really strong that we wanted the world to see.

And also this:

What about any of the other performers? Did you consult with any of them?

I talked to Jeremy Irons on the phone. I had a correspondence with Gal Gadot where she would write to me and say, “This doesn’t seem quite right for the character. What do you think?” And it was all a really good relationship where all the roles would be bespoke to the actors.

This is all prior to Whedon taking over. It seems if nothing else like there was a culture change between a director and writer who were open to collaboration with actors to develop a character, and a writer/director who did not want to hear from the people playing the roles. If you’d been used to having your voice heard and now you weren’t, that shift alone - even if you were being treated with nothing but respect otherwise - would be legitimately jarring, I think. If as seems to be the case people were used to having their voice heard and were now being treated with threats and contempt for voicing their opinion, then the question of who exactly is being the unprofessional prima donna seems quite easy to answer.

But the more interesting issue is with Cyborg and the actor and original writer’s intent behind the character. The comparison to Black Panther is instructive - that movie was huge in large part because the people behind it did think hard about what it meant to have a black hero on screen, and had some very definite ideas about how they wanted to approach it. If Fisher had been preparing to portray something complex and meaningful, and Whedon wanted him to stick to reciting catchphrases then:

a) Whedon might have been well advised to approach that situation with a higher degree of sensitivity than appears to have been the case and
b) Given the impact/critical acclaim/commercial success of Black Panther, then in all likelihood Whedon was wrong and Fisher was right.

I’m not sure I follow, as actors specifically sign up for the purpose of being objectified. It is not their wit and charm, but their looks and their charisma that is being sold here.

And yes, as an employee, sometimes you will be condescended to, especially if you question your boss’s judgement and refuse to follow their direction.

I was not aware that Gadot was asked to have a nude scene in Justice League. I assume you brought that up as it was relevant, right?

Yes, you responded by implying that she was only known for that because she wouldn’t sleep with her boss. You compared that to Weinstein. I assumed you did so as you considered that comparison relevant. If not, then I question why you would have brought it up in the first place.

No, you are making that as an assertion, rather than making an argument for the case. We are in agreement that he’s a bit of an asshole, and pushes the people in his employ hard. What has not been established is that he does so for sexist reasons.

Yeah, it is, isn’t it. But you and I aren’t talking about the same people here.

You avoided the question last time, so I ask again, was the voice actor for Teen Titans being demeaned by saying Boo yah?

Or the guy that is best known for his portrayal on a cartoon where he uses that phrase.

You said it was extremely popular, did you not? Why would they not want to tap into some of that popularity?

A comic book enthusiast may accuse them of selling out, but accusing them of racism for incorporating parts of, as you say, “one of the most popular characters on Cartoon Network’s most popular shows” seems to be a bit of a stretch, IMHO.

You keep going back and forth on who is underestimating the popularity of the cartoons. There are a number of cartoons that are either targeted for adults, or at least are designed to be enjoyed by adults, even if targeted at children. Are you sure that they are just kid’s shows? I haven’t seen them myself, so I can’t judge, but you are the one that said that most filmgoers would be familiar with the character due to the cartoon.

So, which is it? Are people familiar with the character due to the cartoon, or are they unfamiliar with the character because it is a relatively new (compared to WW or Superman or Batman or Flash) and has not seen much in the way of media?

You are trying to have it both ways here.

She’s also been in the cartoon Justice League that was around when I was a kid. I don’t remember it well, didn’t watch it much, but she was a main character there. You know who wasn’t? Cyborg.

You are fooling yourself if you think that WW wasn’t immensely more well known that Cyborg.

If I have an employee tell me that that they refuse to do something the way I want it done, then absolutely I will threaten to fire them. It’s not their store, it’s not their project, they are the ones who have a responsibility here.

They’ve said their piece, made the opinion known, now their options are to do the work they are paid for, or find something else to do.

A fair amount of those “fucks” in your post are just your artistic interpretation, not based on anything actually said, correct?

This is true, and one of the reasons that I rarely have to have such a confrontation with my employees is that I hired them all myself, and I told them my expectations at that time.

It would be harder if someone else had hired them, and then left me to manage them after they left.