A recent news article has blown up with the report that claims director Zack Snyder had a direct hand in using bots to push the "Release the Snyder Cut" viral movement.
Since its production and release, the Justice League film (2017) has had controversies surrounding it. After its unsatisfying critical and box office performances, fans of the DCEU and Zack Snyder called for Warner Bros. to allow the director to finish and release his vision for the movie. The hashtag #ReleasetheSnyderCut went viral and shared by millions, virtually on a daily basis. This would eventually lead to the 2021 production and release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
While it has been over a year since then, a news article has brought new light that allegedly confirms the entire movement was fueled by the extensive use of fake accounts. Plus, the allegations claim that Zack Snyder directly influenced this use of bots to manipulate the results.
Rolling Stone breaks down WarnerMedia reports
In the news article by Rolling Stone, it was reported that a WarnerMedia investigation was apparently commissioned regarding the massive fan initiative to materialize Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League.
The two WarnerMedia reports allegedly obtained by Rolling Stone confirms that "at least 13%" of the social media accounts that participated in the Release the Snyder Cut movement of the Justice League film were fake.
EXCLUSIVE: Bots and other inauthentic users helped fuel the fan-led campaign for Zack Snyder’s Justice League “Snyder Cut” release, according to a WarnerMedia report.https://t.co/dTFl6kHJNq
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) July 19, 2022
The Rolling Stone article also states that director Zack Snyder demanded Geoff Johns and Jon Berg be removed from the credits of the Justice League Snyder Cut. The article cites "multiple sources familiar with the matter" that Snyder allegedly issued a threat in these words:
Geoff and Jon are dragging their feet on taking their names off my cut. Now, I will destroy them on social media.
The article continued by stating that the magazine spoke with more than 20 people involved in the Justice League production and that these people asserted the director had manipulated the social media campaign. One apparent source apparently stated:
Zack was like a Lex Luthor wreaking havoc.
Zack Snyder responds to the allegations
In response to the controversial Rolling Stone article, Zack Snyder denied the allegations of having any direct involvement with the use of bots on social media. Furthermore, Snyder clarifies the context of requesting to remove certain producers’ names in the Justice League Snyder Cut credits:
We have never said anything negative about Geoff Johns or Jon Berg on social media or in interviews. [But] this was not the movie they believed in, developed, or helped us to get made.
Snyder continued by stating that focusing on the negativity is a disservice to the fans and to the production who helped make the Justice League Snyder Cut happen, as well as the good that the fans were able to accomplish (referring to the donations made to charitable institutions):
As an artist it was fulfilling to be able to finally see my vision realized after such a difficult time in my life and for it to be so well received. I am grateful to both the fan community and Warner Bros. for allowing this to happen. To dwell on negativity and rumors serves no one… if this is indeed a balanced article, I hope that all the good work the fandom has done is being represented.
Ray Fisher calls the article a 'rumor-mill reporting'
Zack Snyder is not the only one who responded to the controversial Rolling Stone article and its allegations. Ray Fisher (who played Victor Stone/Cyborg in Justice League) denied being in collusion with Snyder for the viral campaign.
In a Twitter post, Fisher calls out the Rolling Stone article and its writer. The article claimed that Fisher declined giving an official comment, but the actor stated this was not the case:
Neither myself, nor anyone on my team, EVER “declined to comment to Rolling Stone.”
Furthermore, this type of rumor-mill reporting is offensive, dangerous, and willfully evasive of fact.
— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) July 19, 2022
Fisher is no stranger to controversies surrounding the Justice League production. The actor had been very vocal about the dissatisfaction with the 2017 cut of the film and the apparent toxic behavior of director Joss Whedon who had been hired by Warner Bros. executives to take over from Snyder.
Fans respond on social media
It should also be noted that fans of Zack Snyder and the DCEU Snyderverse also responded on social media. On Twitter, the main platform where the alleged bots were prevalent, these fans pushed back with tweets with #WeAreNotBots hashtag along with #RestoretheSnyderverse:
How does this new controversy surrounding Zack Snyder affect the current and future plans for the DCEU? With the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger, the new upper management are reportedly taking a very close look at the DCEU and have not been satisfied with the success of The Batman as an indicator of how to push forward.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is currently available on the HBO Max and HBO GO streaming service. Plus, the superhero film is now available as a digital release and on Blu-Ray.