Briefing

The Ezra Miller accusations, explained

Will Warner Bros. reshoot all of 'The Flash' to avoid including the actor?

Warner Bros. is in a tough spot as the star of one of its upcoming tentpole films, Ezra Miller, has been in legal trouble for months and now faces allegations of grooming. Here's everything you need to know:

What has Ezra Miller been accused of?

Ezra Miller, known for playing Credence in the Fantastic Beasts movies and the Flash in DC's Justice League, has been embroiled in multiple scandals this year. But most recently, the actor has been accused of grooming and abusing a teenager. 

On June 8, TMZ reported the parents of 18-year-old Tokata Iron Eyes were seeking an order of protection against Miller, who uses they/them pronouns, claiming the actor is a threat to their daughter's well-being. According to Iron Eyes' parents, she met Miller in 2016 when she was 12 and the actor, who was 23, came to Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. The two subsequently developed a friendship, and Miller allegedly invited a 14-year-old Iron Eyes to fly to London, where their movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was filmed. 

Iron Eyes' parents claim Miller gave her alcohol, marijuana, and LSD when she was underage, and they allege Miller's negative influence over her led her to drop out of school. The parents also claim that when they went to Miller's house in Vermont in January 2022, they found their daughter didn't have her driver's license, keys, or bank card, and there were allegedly bruises on her body. 

"Ezra uses violence, intimidation, threat of violence, fear, paranoia, delusions, and drugs to hold sway over a young adolescent Tokata," the parents claimed in legal documents, TMZ reported. They also accused Miller of "cult-like and psychologically manipulative, controlling" and "sexual predatory" behavior, including allegedly trying to sleep in the same bed as Iron Eyes when she was 14.

"It's an R. Kelly type situation and it's very scary," Iron Eyes' mother, Sara Jumping Eagle, told The New York Post

A judge has approved an interim protective order barring Miller from contacting Iron Eyes for 30 days, but the court "cannot locate or serve" the actor, according to The Los Angeles Times. Her father, Chase Iron Eyes, told the Times he has "no idea" where she and Miller are, but a court hearing was scheduled for July 12.

What has Iron Eyes said about this? 

Iron Eyes, a Native American activist who has worked with Greta Thunberg, said in a statement on Instagram that Miller has only provided her "loving support and invaluable protection," and she accused her parents of transphobia and seeking to place her under a conservatorship. But Iron Eyes' mother alleged Miller "has control of Tokata's Instagram." 

Iron Eyes then released a video denying claims that Miller wrote her previous statement. "Nobody is controlling my Instagram account," she said, adding, "This is my life, these are my decisions."

What other legal issues has Miller faced?

This scandal was just the latest for Miller, and the first major incident dates back to 2020, when video emerged that appeared to show the actor choking a woman at a bar in Iceland. Almost two years later, Miller left fans concerned in January 2022 after posting a bizarre video in which they threatened violence against a North Carolina chapter of the Ku Klux Klan for no explained reason. 

In March 2022, Miller was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment over an incident in a bar. Miller allegedly "began yelling obscenities," grabbed a microphone from a woman who was singing, and lunged at a man playing darts. The actor was later fined $500 after pleading no contest. According to The Associated Press, Miller was the source of police calls in Hawaii at least 10 times in the month of March alone.

That same month, a judge granted a couple's request for a temporary restraining order against Miller after the actor allegedly burst into their bedroom in Hawaii, threatened them, and stole their passport and wallet. The restraining order was later dropped

Miller was then arrested in Hawaii again on April 19 for second-degree assault. This time, police said Miller "became irate" after being asked to leave a private residence, and they allegedly "threw a chair, striking a 26-year-old female on the forehead, resulting in an approximate half-inch cut." 

On June 16, The Daily Beast reported a mother and her 12-year-old child have also obtained an order of protection against Miller in Massachusetts. Speaking to the outlet, they described an encounter in which the actor was allegedly "weirdly drawn" to the then 11-year-old child, hugging them in an uncomfortable manner and telling the mother "they would be lucky to have someone like me guide them." Miller allegedly also showed off a gun following an argument, warning, "Talking like that could get you into a really serious situation."

What might Warner Bros. and DC do about this? 

In recent weeks, Warner Bros. has faced growing calls to fire Miller. But the problem is the actor is the lead of the studio's upcoming tentpole The Flash, a movie that already completed filming last year. It's rumored to have significant repercussions for the future of the DC universe, and it features Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck returning as their versions of Batman, which could help make it into a $1 billion blockbuster under the right circumstances. 

Replacing Miller with another actor would likely require reshooting the whole film, which would be a highly costly, almost unprecedented prospect. The movie All the Money in the World did something similar in 2017, replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer after Spacey was accused of sexual assault, and 2021's Army of the Dead replaced original star Chris D'Elia with Tig Notaro after D'Elia was accused of sexual misconduct. But even those situations aren't directly comparable seeing as neither Spacey nor D'Elia played the main characters, meaning most of the original footage was still usable. Other options would include canceling The Flash entirely or giving it a quieter release on streaming. 

In April, Rolling Stone reported that Warner Bros. and DC executives decided to pause future projects involving Miller. As for The Flash, though, Variety reported in June the plan is to release it in theaters with Miller still in the lead role. But the report noted this was "barring unforeseen developments" — and that was before the grooming allegations emerged. This is just one casting headache DC has on its hands, as the studio has also faced calls to remove Amber Heard from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom after the Johnny Depp defamation trial. 

Warner Bros. still hasn't commented on the Miller situation, but as of now, The Flash is slated to hit theaters in June 2023.

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