it’s time for Warner Bros. Discovery To talk about Ezra Miller, according to crisis management experts.
The actor, who is portraying superhero The Flash in the DC Extended Universe studio, including in an upcoming big-budget movie, has come under scrutiny in recent months for a pattern of disturbing behavior and allegations of misconduct.
Miller, 29, made headlines in 2020 after a video surfaced showing them violently strangling a fan. However, incidents of impropriety escalated in 2022 when they were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment at a karaoke bar in Hawaii.
Hours before they were due to appear in court in April on the charges, Miller was arrested again after an argument in which he was accused of throwing a chair and injuring a woman.
Now, two protective orders have been granted, one for a 12-year-old in Massachusetts and one for Gibson Iron Eyes, an 18-year-old Standing Rock activist who Miller allegedly nurtured, according to parents Chase Iron Eyes and Sarah Jump Eagle. Authorities have not been able to locate Miller to service these orders. Gibson is believed to be traveling with Miller.
Miller noticeably deleted his Instagram account earlier this week after posting photos and encrypted messages that appeared to mock police.
The allegations against Miller come nearly a year before Warner Bros. is set to launch. “The Flash,” a $100 million movie that’s part of the studio’s DC franchise.
“When you start to get a chain of things going, it’s a worrying pattern,” said Tony Fryenberg, president of Edendale Strategies, a crisis management and strategic communications firm. “It’s concerning about what it says about someone’s well-being, and it’s worrying about what it says about someone’s suitability to be the face of a major Warner Bros. franchise.”
“Anything can be a misunderstanding,” he added. “But when you start getting into four, five, six things, you start getting into troublesome territory.”
Talent agent Miller and legal representatives did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
“Silence is not an option,” Evan Nirman said, Author of the book “Avoid the Crisis” and CEO of Red Banyan Crisis Public Relations. “At a certain moment you choose not to say anything, you are delivering a message.”
Warner Bros. remained quiet during the Miller attack arrests earlier this year, but sources inside the company said Emergency meetings were held in April to discuss their recent disagreements and how the studio would continue to move forward. At that time, it was decided that the film would remain on the list, but Warner Bros. would temporarily stop future projects in which the actor would participate.
The studio even teased “The Flash” during its screening at CinemaCon in late April, indicating that it still plans to go ahead with a release of the film next year.
Miller has been associated with the DCEU since the release of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in 2016 and has been a major part of the Warner Bros. “Fantastic Beasts” movie series. .
“If they’re hoping this thing will go away or people will forget about it, I think they’re wrong,” Nirman said.
Warner Bros. did not respond. Immediately on CNBC’s request for comment.
The studio is in a difficult place. On social media, DCEU fans are calling for Miller to be recast. But doing so, and reshooting a movie, is very expensive, and the studio may not be able to make enough profit at the box office to outweigh its investment.
Nor is it as simple as hanging the movie off the shelf and writing off the multi-million dollar budget. Freinberg noted that Warner Bros. She will likely be in the midst of evaluating each contract associated with the movie to determine what she can legally do going forward.
If actors or producers have movie proceeds hidden in their contracts, it could be Warner Bros. Legally obligated to release the film, regardless of whether Millers violated any moral clauses in their private contract.
“I think Warner Bros. is in a terrible position,” Fryenberg said. “It’s not unusual for people to feel sorry for movie studios, but I really feel sorry for Warner Bros. because they are faced with the horrifying situation of trying to figure out what to do because every choice they have is bad.”
Warner Bros. merged. Recently with Discovery in a $43 billion deal, which means that the company’s top executives inherit not just the content, but the crises that come with them. Experts told CNBC that David Zaslav, president and CEO of Warner Bros. Newly released Discovery, he’s likely to be very involved in how the company will ultimately respond to the situation.
Freienberg suggested that Warner Bros. You may also hold back from speaking out about the Miller issue because these are allegations.
“The allegation is just a claim, it has not been proven,” Fryenberg said. “They have the right to a fair trial and everything else, but on the other hand what is said about them is very dangerous.”
Whatever Warner Bros. decides. It would be the studio’s strategy moving forward, and both Freinberg and Nierman agree that it needs to be done quickly.
“The key to Warner Bros. is to be fast but don’t rush,” Fryenberg said, citing basketball coach John Wooden. “There’s no time to waste, but they don’t want to advertise something half-baked.”
Nirman echoed this sentiment, noting that any statement should be communicated transparently and credibly — and that saying nothing would be a poor choice.
“If they are my client, I would recommend publishing a statement and doing so with a strategic outcome in mind,” Nirman said of Warner Bros. movie at this point. The public and sane people will understand it.”
“In an instant your reputation can evaporate, which is why they should take this seriously,” he added.