Following the news that Justice League actor Ezra Miller was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment after physically confronting karaoke bar patrons in Hawaii last month, a new report has revealed that Warners Bros. has allegedly paused the star’s upcoming DC projects, including The Flash film set for 2023 and a planned sequel (though no official announcement has been made).
An insider at the studio told RollingStone that executives held an emergency meeting last week to reevaluate Miller’s future projects in light of their latest streak of violent behavior (Miller uses they/them pronouns). Immediately following the karaoke bar incident, where Miller screamed obscenities at a woman before grabbing a microphone from her and lunged at a man playing darts, the actor was hit with a restraining order from a couple they were staying with in Hawaii, who claimed Miller broke into their bedroom, stole some of their personal belongings and threatened to kill them. Page Six also reported that Hawaii police had received at least 10 calls about Miller for “minor” incidents, including “filming people at a gas station and refusing to leave the sidewalk area of a restaurant.”
The article also revealed that Miller had “frequent meltdowns” on set during filming of The Flash last year. Although none of them violent outbursts, an insider claimed that the actor was “losing it.”
Miller wreaking havoc throughout Hawaii comes as no surprise to those who have witnessed the actor’s public erratic behavior over the past two years. The last time the Perks of Being A Wallflower star had gone viral, they had posted a video on Instagram back in January threatening members of the Ku Klux Klan in Beulaville, North Carolina, for undisclosed reasons. And in 2020, a video surfaced online of the actor choking a woman and throwing her to the ground at a bar in Iceland.
Maybe it’s partially due to Miller’s moderate level of stardom and lack of interaction with the public that the actor has barely been a target of widespread outrage in the media and not just short-lived “cancellation” on Twitter. Even after the karaoke bar incident made headlines, there were plenty of tweets making light of Miller being a public menace, calling their relatable behavior and joking about their mugshot. Likewise, it’s interesting to watch Miller’s snowballing controversies gain more attention as the ongoing fallout from Will Smith’s slapping incident at this year’s Oscars occurs alongside it.
Ever since the King Richard star slapped comedian Chris Rock for making a tasteless joke about his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, during the ceremony a little over a week ago, articles have been written non-stop about the repercussions Smith could possibly be facing from the industry, including upcoming projects that have allegedly been stalled.
Last week, a source told The Hollywood Reporter that Smith’s planned Netflix film Fast and Loose has been “moved to the back burner” following the Oscars. The same article claimed that Badboys 4 was also put on pause. More questionable sources like The Sun have reported that Apple TV+ and Netflix withdrew from a bidding war to adapt the actor’s 2021 memoir. Other publications have reported on the status of his upcoming projects in the context of The Slap despite many of them being in development with little information available. The Daily Beast revealed that Smith’s agents considered dropping him. Overall, the media seems to insist on propagating the notion that Smith will never book a job again, despite being one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.
“Overall, the media seems to insist on propagating the notion that Smith will never book a job again, despite being one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.”
While it’s likely that the backlash over The Slap will eventually fizzle out, the altercation has already had a larger impact on Smith’s career than actors and filmmakers who have routinely exhibited violent behavior outside of the televised ceremony—and have even been rewarded on that stage. In the last week, much has been made of Smith’s seemingly preemptive resignation from The Academy and ongoing probe by the Board of Governors while the organization has embraced men like Harvey Weinstein, Mel Gibson, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe, Casey Affleck and others who have been accused and/or convicted of sexual and non-sexual violence. Even in the case of Polanski’s recent expulsion from the Academy, it took an entire global movement of sexual assault survivors speaking out—and a number of other alleged victims coming forward—for the organization to distance themselves from the Polish director, who they warmly welcomed back to the awards show after evading his child rape conviction.
That’s why the public’s slow reaction to Miller’s behavior and Warner Bros.’ reluctance at completely pulling their upcoming projects, despite their public record of causing harm, are so maddening and reveal a double standard regarding how white and Black violence are viewed and policed in a racist society. Miller is allowed to be a ticking time bomb until their behavior becomes unignorable while Smith is automatically deemed a public threat who doesn’t deserve to work because he got into a public altercation with someone he has a personal conflict with.
The slap incident also illustrates how disposable Black entertainers (and people) are once they behave outside the lines of respectability the industry has drawn for them. Even if you’re reliably raking in as much money at the box office as Smith, your entire career can be placed in jeopardy after one foolish mistake.
Once again, with the Miller dilemma, Hollywood has made it clear that they’re far less concerned with how systemic violence actually operates and continues to spread within their industry than whether or not it will affect their bottom line.