Ezra Miller plays Barry Allen/The Flash in DCEU's Justice League.

A Timeline of Ezra Miller’s Controversial Career

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We’ve been hearing a lot about the DC Universe lately, given Warner Bros. merging with Discovery, the subsequent cancellation of multiple projects, and the hiring of James Gunn and Peter Safran as co-CEOs of the new DC Studios. One film in particular has attracted additional scrutiny for quite some time now—and the history behind it (and its star) has left many confused as to why it continued to move full speed ahead. Ezra Miller has been the subject of a disturbing and (seemingly continuous) downward spiral that has left both fans and spectators alike dismayed. But just when did these controversies start and what does this mean for the actor’s DCEU standalone film The Flash?

This story is ongoing and is continually updated.

Ezra Miller’s early career

Ezra Miller in Fantastic Beasts- The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
(Warner Bros.)

Born in 1992 to a well-known publisher and a dancer, Ezra Miller came from a privileged background and first entered the world of acting while starring in the Robert Wilson and Philip Glass opera White Raven. A young Miller subsequently starred in Afterschool, which premiered at Cannes, playing a high school loner who unexpectedly witnesses a death. Miller dropped out of school and got their big break in 2011 with the release of Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin. In the movie, which also stars Tilda Swinton, Miller plays the titular character, a teen boy who goes on a murderous rampage at his high school using a crossbow—which, by the way, Miller has kept (an odd keepsake considering its role in the film).

In 2012, Miller played Patrick in the adaptation of the highly popular YA novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower alongside Emma Watson and Logan Lerman. While filming in Pittsburgh, Miller had one of their first documented run-ins with the law when the driver of the car they were in was pulled over because of a broken brake light. A drug possession charge regarding a small amount of marijuana was dropped, though the judge did give the actor two citations of disorderly conduct. 

Miller’s star continued to rise as they landed a pair of major franchise roles. In March 2016, Miller made their first appearance as Barry Allen, a.k.a. the Flash in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and reprised the role in Suicide Squad, released in August 2016. In November, Miller appeared opposite Johnny Depp in Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, perhaps the single most cursed franchise that (currently) exists.

Miller exhibited some other odd, though seemingly harmless behavior during this time period—including singing a weird rendition of Rihanna’s “Work” at San Diego Comic-Con and giving an interview in gibberish while dressed as Toadette from Mario Kart.

Ezra Miller’s career takes a controversial turn

In February of 2020, as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller rented an Airbnb in Iceland, where they hosted “artists, expats, and spiritual confidants,” according to Business Insider. One guest compared the living situation to a “commune,” with sources saying that Miller covered all expenses and gave speeches about spirituality.

Miller’s behavior took a violent turn in April 2020: in a video that went viral, the actor could be seen physically assaulting a woman in an Iceland bar. After speaking with witnesses and employees from the bar, Variety reported that the incident began after “pushy” fans interacted with Miller, who grabbed the woman by the throat and threw her to the ground. The Wrap spoke with local police, who revealed that charges were not being pursued in the case.

In January 2022, Miller made headlines again when they posted a (since-deleted) video to Instagram in which they called out the KKK:

“This is Ezra Miller—a.k.a. the Bengal Ghouls, the Mad Goose Wizard—and, um, this is a message for the Beulaville chapter of the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan. Hello. First of all, how are you all doing? Um, it’s me. Look, if y’all want to die, I suggest just killing yourselves with your own guns, okay? Otherwise, keep doing exactly what you’re doing right now—and you know what I am talking about—and then, you know, we’ll do it for you if that’s what you want.”

Two months later, on March 27, “The Flash Enters the Speed Force” sequence from Zack Snyder’s Justice League (i.e., the Snyder Cut) won the all-new (and questionable) Oscars Fan Favorite Moment award. On the same day, Miller was arrested in Hawaii following another altercation in a bar. According to the Hawaii Police Department, the actor became “agitated” with a karaoke performance of Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” from A Star Is Born (who among us, etc.). Miller “began yelling obscenities and at one point grabbed the microphone from a 23-year-old woman singing karaoke (disorderly conduct offense) and later lunged at a 32-year-old man playing darts (harassment offense).”

Miller was bailed out by the couple they were living with in Hawaii. Two days later, the same couple filed for a restraining order against Miller, claiming the actor returned to their residence after the karaoke incident and stole a wallet and passport from the couple. Per court documents, Miller also made threatening remarks. The no-contact order was dropped the following month.

In early April, Rolling Stone reported that Warner Bros. and DC called an emergency meeting to discuss Miller’s behavior: “According to a knowledgeable source, the consensus in the room was to hit pause on any future projects involving Miller including possible appearances in the DC Extended Universe.” One source told RS that Miller had “frequent breakdowns” while filming The Flash, though the source pointedly noted that Miller did not behave in a violent manner.

Three weeks after their previous run-in with local law enforcement, on April 19, Miller was arrested again—this time for throwing a chair, which hit a woman and left her with a cut on her forehead.

In June 2022, the parents of teenage activist Gibson Iron Eyes accused the actor of grooming their child. According to documents obtained by TMZ and filed in Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court, the parents claim that Miller and Gibson Iron Eyes met at a protest when they were 12 years old and Miller was 23. The actor allegedly flew the teen to London in 2017—when Iron Eyes was 14 and Miller was 25—to visit them on the set of Fantastic Beasts. Iron Eyes’ parents also allege that Miller gave their underage child alcohol and drugs, and that Miller’s offer to pay for Iron Eyes’ school tuition gave their child a “sense of indebtedness.”

Iron Eyes, who is also non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, subsequently rebutted the claims and accused their parents of being transphobic:

“I dropped out of bard five months ago, my friend and comrade William passed shortly thereafter, my mind was incredibly impacted and I’ve needed space and time for the processing of grief. My comrade Ezra Miller for the entirety of the aforementioned era has only provided loving support and invaluable protection throughout this period of loss.

My father and his allegations hold no weight and are frankly transphobic and based in the notion that I am somehow incapable of coherent thought or opposing opinions to those of my own kindred worrying about my well being. I am now aware of the severity of emotional and psychological manipulation I was made to endure while in my parents home.”

Iron Eyes’ parents claimed that Miller and Gibson were “on the run,” making it difficult for the court to serve papers. Gibson Iron Eyes posted a (since-deleted) video on Instagram in which they maintained that no one else was controlling their life or social media activity. Meanwhile, Miller deleted their Instagram account after posting memes poking fun at the police and their inability to locate the actor.

On June 16, The Daily Beast published a troubling report featuring an interview with another of Miller’s alleged victims. According to the 12-year-old victim and witnesses, Miller made uncomfortable comments and physical gestures toward the child. The alleged incident took place on February 2, 2022 in Massachusetts, when Miller encountered the child and their family at a mutual friend’s home. Per the report, Miller was “under the influence” and became irate when the mother of the family referred to her friends as “her tribe.” Miller accused the mother of cultural appropriation and then claimed that Parcheesi—the game they were playing—was Rastafarian in origin. When the family’s neighbor, who is half-Black, questioned the claim, the neighbor says Miller “opened up their jacket—they had this, like, big Sherpa jacket—and they opened up one side of their jacket, you could see a gun, and they said, ‘Talking like that could get you into a really serious situation.'”

The family was granted a protective order against Miller.

During the same month, another Rolling Stone investigation revealed that Miller had a farm in Vermont where they housed three young children and their mother alongside unattended guns and marijuana plants. Toward the end of June, Variety spoke with yet another alleged victim, a woman who claimed that Miller both harassed and insulted her. 

“I asked them to leave about 20 times, maybe more,” the woman, identified only as Nadia, recounted. “They started insulting me. I’m a ‘transphobic piece of shit.’ I’m a ‘Nazi.’ It became so, so stressful for me. They were going around my house, looking at everything, touching everything, spreading tobacco leaves on the floor. It felt disgusting and very intrusive.”

In August 2022, Miller was arrested and charged with “offense of felony burglary” in Vermont after stealing bottles of alcohol from an unoccupied home.

Miller attempts a course-correction in anticipation of The Flash

Ezra Miller plays Barry Allen/The Flash in the DCEU's Justice League.
(Warner Bros.)

The question on everyone’s mind at this time was: What happens with The Flash? Following the cancellation of Batgirl, it seemed plausible that Warner Bros. and DC might scrap Miller’s standalone superhero flick as a tax write-off.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, executives over at the Warners’ lot were exploring a few options, including a rehabilitation model in which Miller would give a tell-all interview and participate in limited press to promote The Flash. In a statement to Variety in August 2022, Miller appeared to be pursuing this path, offering an apology for their behavior:

“Having recently gone through a time of intense crisis, I now understand that I am suffering complex mental health issues and have begun ongoing treatment,” Miller says. “I want to apologize to everyone that I have alarmed and upset with my past behavior. I am committed to doing the necessary work to get back to a healthy, safe and productive stage in my life.”

Also in August, the Toronto International Film Festival announced Dalíland—the Salvador Dalí biopic directed by Mary Harron—as its closing film. Miller, who plays a young version of the artist in the film, was absent from the announcement; their name had been removed from the cast list.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Harron described her experience filming with Miller, whom she apparently already had in mind to play a young Salvador Dalí over a decade ago when she first thought of developing Dalíland:

“It might have been different, especially if we were shooting, if there had been bad behavior during that. But this all happened after the film was not only filmed, but edited and mixed and done. I also felt like everybody shot all those things in good faith. Nothing bad happened during our filming, and the film is the film.” She further adds, “I’m not condoning anything they’ve done wrong. I think it doesn’t matter how talented someone is, if they’ve done anything wrong, they have to face it. I also think that clearly this is not just a young star acting out. This is much more serious. This seems like something that needs a serious intervention, which I hope has happened.”

In a September 2022 interview with Vanity Fair, Miller’s former fiancée Erin detailed her relationship with the actor. “The Ezra I knew wasn’t violent or physically abusive toward anyone,” said Erin, who went on to recall how Miller accused her of being abusive. “I didn’t know the term ‘gaslight’ back then,” she said.

According to Erin, she and Miller went their separate ways after a spiritual counselor advised Miller that Erin was a parasite. When asked about her current feelings for Miller, she shared that it’s a little more complicated: “I can make excuses for [them] all day, but I don’t want to anymore. The illusions of grandeur need to be called out. I will love Ezra always, and I don’t want [them] to continue down this dark road.”

In October 2022, Miller pleaded not guilty to the burglary charges in a Vermont court. They appeared with their lawyer in a virtual proceeding in a Bennington Superior Court and agreed to no longer contact the property owners or return to residence. Miller’s lawyer, Lisa B. Shelkrot, released an official statement:

“Ezra Miller this morning pled not guilty to one count of burglary and one count of petit larceny in Vermont Superior Court and accepted the court-imposed conditions of not contacting or entering the home of the inhabitants. Ezra would like to acknowledge the love and support they have received from their family and friends, who continue to be a vital presence in their ongoing mental health.”

That December, Warner Bros. re-committed to releasing The Flash, moving the release date for the DC film up by a week. The following month, Miller entered a plea deal in the Vermont burglary case, agreeing to one year of probation and a fine of $500.

In January 2023, while promoting their upcoming slate of superhero movies and TV series for DC Studios, James Gunn and Peter Safran commented on Miller and The Flash. Gunn called the film “probably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made,” while Safran expressed support for Miller, whom he described as “completely committed to their recovery.”

Over the following months, as Warner Bros. ramped up its marketing of The Flash, Miller’s presence was somewhat downplayed despite being the star of the film. The studio instead focused on Miller’s co-stars—like Sasha Calle, who plays Supergirl, and Michael Keaton, who returns as Batman—and some of the film’s more high-profile cameos, including Michael Shannon. Speaking with Vanity Fair, Shannon described his experience working with Miller:

“I thought Ezra was lovely—very kind to me when I was there. It’s difficult to talk about, but I always give people a lot of slack in this business, because there’s a lot of people in this business that have issues. And some people have more privacy than others. Any time somebody is out in the spotlight getting picked on, I feel for them. Even if it’s warranted, it’s still a horrible situation.”

The Flash arrives

On June 12, Miller resurfaced to attend the premiere of The Flash in Hollywood, the actor’s first public appearance in over two years. Miller did not participate in one-on-one or red carpet interviews, but they did express gratitude to Warner Bros.-Discovery CEO David Zaslav and DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran for their “grace and discernment in the context of my life. And for bringing this moment to fruition.” Miller did not further comment on their previous legal matters or the allegations against them.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Danielle Baranda
Danielle is a twenty-something writer and postgrad student based in the Philippines. She loves books, movies, her cat, and traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys shooting 35mm film and going to concerts.