Hawaiʻi Police Department/Getty Images; Warner Bros/ Everett Collection
Come Friday, all eyes will be on the much-anticipated premiere of The Flash. It’s for two reasons: the Barry Allen-centered movie is Warner Bros. and DC’s main hope for a blockbuster hit following the studio’s shock decision to shelve the completed $90 million Batgirl film last year in light of the studios’ cost-cutting measures following WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery.
The second being that The Flash’s leading star, Ezra Miller, has been at the center of a public relations nightmare for the past few years.
Miller, who uses they/them pronouns, was cast as Flash in 2014, making appearances in other superhero films in the DC Universe, such as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad in 2016, Justice League in 2017, and the Max series Peacemaker in 2022. The plan all along was for Miller to shine in their own feature film as Barry Allen, complete with a top-tier marketing strategy behind the rollout.
However, that’s been far from the case following Miller’s string of arrests in Hawaii and Vermont; accusations they groomed and lured away a teen from their family; a run-in with child protective services over claims they were secretly housing a mother and her three young children at their unsafe farm; and the subject of multiple damning investigative reports regarding their escalating, erratic, and concerning behavior.
There’s been a lone statement from Miller amid the media storm apologizing for his actions, citing “complex mental health issues,” and far less from Warner Bros. Instead, the approach has been to ride the storm out and hope that the film’s success (which already has rave reviews) will drown out any criticism surrounding Miller.
Below is a timeline of Miller’s many controversies:
Miller is seen in a viral video choking and throwing an unnamed woman to the ground at a bar in Reykjavik, Iceland, saying, “Oh, you wanna fight? That’s what you wanna do?” The woman later spoke to Variety, saying she believed they were having a playful, joking interaction with Miller, who abruptly snapped. “All of a sudden, [they’re] on top of me, choking me, still screaming in my face if I want to fight. My friend who’s filming sees [they’re] obviously not joking and it’s actually serious, so he stops filming, and pushes [them] off me as [they’re] still trying to fight me. Two guy friends of mine are actually holding [Miller] back as [they’re] screaming, ‘This is what you wanted! This is what you wanted!’”
Bar staff allegedly acknowledged that other fans of the actor had been “quite pushy” when approaching the star, but an agitated Miller escalated the situation to the point they were escorted from the bar.
At the time, Miller was holed up at an Airbnb in Iceland because filming for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was on hold due to Covid restrictions. The rented space became a sort of “commune” for Miller’s friends, local artists, and “spiritual confidants,” according to a Business Insider report, where sources claimed the group was almost “hypnotized” and afraid of the actor’s frequent outbursts and rants. A then-18-year-old woman says she began a brief sexual relationship with the then-27-year-old during their time in Iceland, claiming Miller was “super-manipulative.”
JANUARY 27, 2022
Miller posts a bizarre video directed at Ku Klux Klan members of a North Carolina chapter while flashing a Flash signet ring, suggesting the members should “[kill] yourselves with your own guns” otherwise, “we’ll do it for you, if that’s really what you want.” The seemingly unprompted video was captioned, “Please disseminate (gross!) this video to all those whom it may concern. This is not a joke and even though I do recognize myself to be a clown please trust me and take this seriously. Let’s save some live [sic] now ok babies? Love you like woah.”
A woman identified by her first name Nadia came forward to Variety to claim that Miller had harassed her during a heated incident at her Berlin apartment, voicing fears that Miller could “somehow attack me physically” during the confrontation. “I totally felt unsafe,” she said.
The woman said the pair’s pleasant two-year friendship took a turn when she told Miller they couldn’t smoke inside the apartment. “That just set them off,” Nadia told the outlet, saying she eventually called the police: “I asked them to leave about 20 times, maybe more. They started insulting me. I’m a ‘transphobic piece of shit.’ I’m a ‘Nazi.’ They were going around my house, looking at everything, touching everything, spreading tobacco leaves on the floor.”
Reports emerged that Miller was staying in Hawaii, terrorizing the community of Hilo with a string of arrests for disorderly conduct and harassment. Officials said Miller was the subject of at least 10 police phone calls that month over minor disturbances, such as filming people at a gas station, refusing to move from outside a restaurant, and arguing with strangers.
One of the major incidents occurred at a local karaoke bar on March 29, where Miller allegedly started “yelling obscenities and became agitated when a couple began singing Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s ‘Shallow’ at a karaoke bar.” Miller was accused of snatching the microphone away from the woman mid-song and later lunging at a man playing darts, according to police, and was charged with disorderly conduct and harassment. (Miller was released on $500 bail.)
Later that same night, police were called to remove Miller from the property the actor was staying at over another disturbance. According to an application for a temporary restraining order, which was later granted, Miller had burst into a couple’s bedroom and threatened them, saying, “I will bury you and your slut wife.” Miller also allegedly stole the woman’s passport and the man’s wallet, containing credit cards and important documents.
APRIL 6, 2022
Warner Bros. and DC executives held an emergency meeting over Miller and the future of The Flash in light of their arrests, Rolling Stone reported at the time. The decision was to halt any future projects with Miller, meaning no surprise cameos in other DC Extended Universe films for the time being. A well-placed source told Rolling Stone that Miller had “frequent meltdowns” while filming The Flash, explaining, “Ezra would get a thought in [their] head and say, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’”
APRIL 19, 2022
Once again, Miller was arrested in Hawaii — this time charged with second-degree assault for allegedly throwing a chair at a 26-year-old woman, leaving her with a half-inch gash in her forehead, according to the Hawaii Police Department.
APRIL 23, 2022
A TikTok began circulating from a person by the name of Mia Solange, who uses they/them pronouns. Solange indicated they were in a romantic relationship with Miller, posting a series of photos of the pair, believed to have been taken in 2019. “You took everything from me,” they captioned the video. “Ezra Miller is not a good human. And I can finally say so without being terrified. #abuser.” As the video climbed to more than three million views, Solange suddenly deleted the video and made their social media accounts private.
MAY 16, 2022
Music producer Oliver Ignatius and rapper Ghais Guevara claimed to Rolling Stone that Miller stole music they had worked on together, posting it on Soundcloud with no credit to either artist. Ignatius, who lives in Vermont and had been a longtime friend of Miller’s, said the actor’s actions were “extremely unethical and hurtful.” “The person I thought I knew was a much gentler soul than the person that we’re seeing right now,” Ignatius said. “It’s been a very concerning journey.”
EARLY JUNE 2022
The concerned parents of Gibson Iron Eyes — a notable Standing Rock activist — accused Miller of grooming and controlling the then-18-year-old. Miller had met Gibson, who uses they/them pronouns and also goes by the name Tokata, when the activist was 12, maintaining a close friendship that consisted of visits to London and New York City.
However, Gibson’s parents, Chase Iron Eyes and Sara Jumping Eagle, claimed in an application for a protective order on behalf of their child that Miller had lured the teen away from their family. “Ezra uses violence, intimidation, threat of violence, fear, paranoia, delusions, and drugs to hold sway over a young adolescent Tokata,” according to court records.
Among their concerns, Gibson’s parents claimed Miller had convinced the teen to drop out of Bard College in December 2021 and to come travel and live with them; had taken control of Gibson’s personal belongings, including their cell phone, ID, and passport; and in January 2022, had given Gibson a dose of LCD that led to the teen having a bad trip and being hospitalized for mental health concerns.
“[Gibson is] not only having mental health issues, but there’s a predator taking advantage of [them] at the same time,” Jumping Eagle told Rolling Stone. “[They’re] basically in a mini R. Kelly situation. It really reminds me of that: How [they’re] isolating people, distancing [them] from [their] families and friends.”
However, Gibson denied that they were a victim and blasted their parents’ claims and concerns, saying Miller had “only provided loving support and invaluable protection” during a troubling time in their life. “I am now aware of the severity of emotional and psychological manipulation I was made to endure while in my parents home,” Gibson added.
JUNE 16, 2022
A mother and her then-11-year-old nonbinary child came forward to The Daily Beast after they were granted a temporary restraining order against Miller in Massachusetts over claims that Miller had acted inappropriately toward the child in February of that year.
The mother claimed Miller had “menanced” the family while visiting with a neighbor, claiming Miller flashed a gun and screamed at her. “It was really uncomfortable,” the child told the outlet. “I was really nervous. I was scared to be around them after they’d yelled at my mother and she was crying.”
Miller had allegedly taken an interest in the child, saying the child was an “elevated being,” had “a lot of power to them,” and the child would be “lucky” to have Miller guide them. At later dates, the mother claimed that Miller had made the child uncomfortable by tightly hugging them and offering to buy horses the child could look after at their Vermont farm.
JUNE 23, 2022
Rolling Stone published an exclusive report that revealed Miller had a 25-year-old mother and her three children under the age of five living at their 96-acre farm in Stamford, Vermont, which worried the children’s father and people familiar with the situation. Two sources claimed that Miller’s home was unsafe for children, alleging there was frequent marijuana use around the children and guns were left around the home unattended. One claimed to have seen one of the children — a one-year-old — put a loose bullet in her mouth.
Miller had met the family while in Hawaii and the father told Rolling Stone that he had learned of the situation and had been trying to remove the children from the home since April, contacting local officials to carry out wellness checks. “I got a bad feeling in my stomach,” the father said at the time. “I do want to go get my kids, they mean the fucking world to me.”
However, the mother claimed that Miller had saved her from a “violent and abusive ex” and helped her have a “safe environment” for her children. “[Ezra’s] home ranch has been a healing haven for us,” she told Rolling Stone. “They may have firearms for self-defense purposes and they are stored in a part of the house that the children never go in… My kids are able to relax more into their healing because of the safety and nurturing Ezra has been providing for them.”
AUGUST 8, 2022
One of Miller’s neighbors accused Miller of breaking into his home and stealing several bottles of alcohol, leading Vermont police to arrest and charge Miller with felony burglary, trespassing, and larceny charges, with the alleged theft reportedly captured on surveillance camera. Miller originally pleaded not guilty to the charges.
AUGUST 10, 2022
Vermont State Police turned up to Miller’s sprawling Vermont farm with an emergency care order to remove the 25-year-old mother and her three children from property, Rolling Stone reported at the time.
Police had attempted to serve Miller at least two times prior, according to court documents, as the State Attorney’s office attempted to transfer legal custody of the children to the state. A caseworker claimed that the children remaining at the farm was “contrary to the child’s welfare because: the child’s safety cannot be reasonably assured if the child remains in the custody of the child’s parent, guardian or custodian,” according to court records.
Miller told police the family hadn’t been there for two months but the Vermont State Attorney’s office said the claim seemed like an attempt to “evade service” of the order, according to a court document obtained by Rolling Stone. Officials said Miller’s claim was contradictory to the information the caseworker provided, which said the “mother was posting on social media in late July 2022 that [the case worker] recognized as the inside of Miller’s residence.” However, after staying at the property for nearly an hour, officials left without removing anyone from the residence.
AUGUST 15, 2022
Miller finally issued a statement amid their arrests and the barrage of accusations, apologizing 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 said. “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.”
Vanity Fair spoke with a number of sources close to Miller, who expressed concern for the actor, citing their increasingly concerning and erratic behavior, such as delusions of being “the next Messiah” and seeking out “malleable” young people to join their entourage. Friends also expressed concern with Miller’s polyamorous relationships with a number of young women, saying it was more akin to a “patriarchal dictatorship where Ezra controls all the sex as the man, and plays the women against each other, screams at them, belittles them in front of the others.”
Miller’s ex-fiancée Erin also contributed to the report, saying that she believes Miller had gaslighted her and was emotionally abusive. “For years [they] convinced me and all our friends that I was abusive,” she said. “But looking back, I would be calling out [their] disrespect and [they] wouldn’t take responsibility and just call me abusive because of my reaction… 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.”
Miller pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful trespass stemming from their Vermont burglary arrest. As part of a deal that dropped the burglary and larceny charges, Miller agreed to pay a $500 fine, serve one year of probation, undergo random drug testing, and continue their mental health treatment. In a statement released through their lawyer, Miller thanked the local community for “their trust and patience throughout this process.”
The marketing for The Flash’s release begins its rollout, starting with the trailer premiering during the Super Bowl, with the first look at Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton reprising their roles as Batman.
A month away from the premiere, The Flash director Andy Muschietti and other higher-ups connected with the film praised Miller’s performance, with one saying they believed the audience would “forget” about the star’s many controversies after seeing the movie.
During an interview with “The Discourse” podcast, Muschietti said he had no plans to recast Miller for other future Flash projects, saying, “I don’t think there’s anyone that can play that character as well as they did. The other depictions of the character are great, but this particular vision of the character, they just excelled in doing it … feels like a character that was made for them.” Producer Barbara Muschietti told Entertainment Weekly that even amid the height of Miller’s troubles, shelving The Flash was never an option, saying, “Not at all. No. That was never real.”