add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );Ezra Miller and the Complexities of Cancel Culture - BANG.
Kelly Yu / Gavel Media

Ezra Miller and the Complexities of Cancel Culture

Ezra Miller, an actor best known for their roles in Justice League, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is set to appear in court September 26 due to allegedly breaking into a friend’s home and stealing multiple bottles of wine. The felony burglary charge is the most recent in a long string of very public allegations against Miller beginning shortly after their parents’ divorce in 2019. 

Miller’s mental health spiral, which seems to have led to their recent run-ins with the law, began in early 2020 when the pandemic paused shooting on the Fantastic Beasts movie. Miller spent much of the pandemic in Iceland, where multiple friends and acquaintances reported that they were running “cult-like” meetings in their home and where they were recorded choking out a woman in a bar. Many sources claimed that Miller believed they were “the Messiah” and that they would go on two to three day benders to complete their “mission.”

In 2022, the parents of a young nonbinary Native American activist Gibson Iron Eyes accused Miller of grooming and behaving inappropriately with their child, who was 12 years old when they first met then-23-year-old Miller. Just a few months later, another mother accused Miller of grooming her 12 year old child; she filed a restraining order against the actor, in effect until July 2023. 

Miller lived briefly in Hawaii, where they were arrested multiple times for assault and faced yet another restraining order from the family they stayed with. They moved to Vermont, where they took in an alleged victim of domestic violence and her three children. Multiple sources claimed that Miller left guns, ammunition and marijuana for the children to easily access while staying in the home. The alleged burglary occurred a couple months later. 

On August 15, Miller released a public statement saying that they had “suffer[ed] complex mental health issues” and were beginning treatment “to get back to a healthy, safe and productive stage in [their] life.” 

Despite this, the internet has erupted in TikToks, tweets, and articles surrounding their behavior. Many users, rather than acknowledge the issues that fueled Miller’s actions, simply make jokes about the star. Videos and images of Miller being arrested and speaking to police have been posted with audios making light of the situations, and multiple users have called Miller their “problematic celebrity crush.”

Yet many are advocating for Miller to face the same “cancel culture” that many other public figures with similar grooming and assault accusations have. Many have drawn comparisons to the recent Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial, where domestic violence accusations caused Depp to be dropped from sequels to some of his most famous and long-standing projects such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which Miller also starred in despite similar controversies). 

Audiences have been calling for the cancellation of The Flash, a Warner Bros. movie starring Miller that was shot with over a 200 million dollar budget and is set to be released in June 2023. A recent Morning Consult poll asked adults if they believed a movie starring an actor facing allegations such as “felony burglary, grooming children,” and “physical assault” should be released (not explicitly saying Miller’s name). It found that only 15% thought the film should be released as is, while 85% believed it should either be reshot with a different actor or scrapped altogether.

Warner Bros. Discovery (the owners of Warner Bros.) has reported that they are currently considering three options for proceeding with the movie: releasing it as shot with Miller’s PR very limited, releasing it with Miller completely absent from PR or not releasing the movie at all. The company has stated that their decision would be determined by Miller’s behavior and attempts to receive help moving forward.

Regardless of whether Miller loses their role as The Flash, it is undeniable that their mental health experiences have caught the attention of the public. The internet’s mixed reactions to the very serious accusations beg the questions: How are we handling mental health issues online? Should we be taking celebrity accusations such as grooming, abuse and assault more seriously? Finally, should we be doing more to raise awareness about mental health issues in the first place?

+ posts