Actresses who star on some of TV’s top superhero shows aren’t naming names. But in the wake of Warner Bros.’ suspension last week of producer Andrew Kreisberg following allegations about his behaviour, several performers in DC Comics-based TV shows are speaking out against sexual harassment in Hollywood. Their statements come after their big-screen superhero brethren Ellen Page and Anna Paquin have been taking on producer-director Brett Ratner in the wake of an Los Angeles Times report of sexual misconduct allegations against him.
“When people commit crimes or harass others, they should always be held accountable - no matter what industry they work in or how much power they wield,” Melissa Benoist, the title star of the CW’s Supergirl, said in a statement posted on Sunday night on her Twitter account.
Supergirl castmate Chyler Leigh followed up by posting Sunday to Instagram, beginning with a Maya Angelou quote to urge women to support each other: “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”
And Emily Bett Rickards from The CW’s Arrow tweeted Sunday: “To the men who committed sexual harassment, who perpetuated rape culture, who turn a ‘blind eye’, and complain about ‘reverse sexism’: You are weak and complicit.”
Rickards’ tweet also addressed women who are sharing their stories of assault and harassment: “To the women who found the strength to speak up, to the women who supported one another and to the women finding their voice: You can. You are heroines.”
Kreisberg, an executive producer, works on the WB series Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
The Warner Bros. Television Group began investigating the allegations against Kreisberg after Variety reported last Friday that 19 people, who chose to remain anonymous, described experiences of harassment that they said were committed by Kreisberg, including inappropriate touching and fostering a toxic work environment.
Kreisberg denied the allegations, telling Variety: “I have made comments on women’s appearances and clothes in my capacity as an executive producer, but they were not sexualised.”
Warner Bros. Television said in a statement late on Friday that it was conducting an internal investigation into the allegations.
Berlanti Productions, the studio behind those superhero series, said on Friday in a statement: “We were recently made aware of some deeply troubling allegations regarding one of our showrunners. We have been encouraging and fully cooperating with the investigation into this by Warner Bros.
“There is nothing more important to us than the safety and well-being of our cast, crew, writers, producers and any staff,” the statement continued. “We do not tolerate harassment and are committed to doing everything we can to make an environment that’s safe to work in and safe to speak up about if it isn’t.”
The Kreisberg case follows sexual harassment allegations by at least six women this month against producer Brett Ratner, who has denied the allegations. Ellen Page posted on Friday on Facebook that Ratner, while serving as director, outed her a dozen years ago during a cast and crew meet-and-greet for X-Men: The Last Stand, when she was 18. X-Men co-star Anna Paquin corroborated Page’s account Friday on Twitter.
And Page Six reported last week, citing only an unnamed industry source, that Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot had issued an ultimatum to try to force Ratner off any Wonder Woman sequel. On Monday, Warner Bros. told Business Insider that the Page Six report was “false”.
Two of Gadot’s Justice League co-stars, Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa, have made headlines since the New York Times and the New Yorker broke the Harvey Weinstein story last month that has sent a massive shock wave throughout the culture, rippling from Hollywood to media to politics.
Momoa apologised last month after video resurfaced of a Game of Thrones rape joke he made during a Comic-Con presentation in 2011. Facing harassment claims, Affleck apologised last month on social media for groping actress Hilarie Burton on Total Request Live in 2003, and then said that he was looking at his own behavior “and making sure I’m part of the solution.” (Damage control unfolded ahead of the debut of their Justice League this Friday.)
Benoist, in her tweet on Sunday, said: “We all need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
“And so this week,” Benoist added, “I’ll head back to work on Supergirl even more committed to being a part of changing the norm by listening when people speak up, and refusing to accept an environment that is anything less than a safe, respectful and collaborate space.”