Ruby Rose’s Batwoman allegations reveal a bigger Arrowverse problem
The former star of the DC series unloaded harrowing accounts of working through injuries, abuse, and neglect by upper management.
More than a year after leaving the DC television series Batwoman, now in its third season on The CW, Ruby Rose has spoken up about enduring unsafe and toxic working conditions that made the dream of playing a superhero feel like a nightmare.
What Happened? — On October 20, former Batwoman star Ruby Rose, who starred in the series for only its first season, shared over a series of Instagram story posts about their experience as the lead of a mainstream superhero show.
Overall, the posts paint a picture of a difficult working environment, where Rose was forced to work so shortly after surgeries and to bear witness to life-altering injuries of various crew members. Rose also names co-stars who they describe as “egomanic[s]” and “a nightmare” to work with, including one who “abused women.”
The allegations are numerous:
- Rose begins by naming showrunner Caroline Dries and franchise producers Sarah Schechter and Greg Berlanti: “Enough is enough. I’m going to tell the whole world what really happened on that set.”
- Rose accuses former executive Peter Roth (who stepped down in early 2021) for hiring a private investigator to spy on Rose, whom he fired “as soon as the report didn’t fit your narrative.” Rose also describes a disturbing story of Roth having “young women steam [his] pants, around [his] crotch while [he was] still wearing said pants on.”
- Rose shared a video (date unknown) of their X-rays, breaking down the injuries, which included a “broken neck,” “broken rib split in two,” and a “tumor.”
- Rose says they returned to the set after only ten days from surgery due to pressure from the network. “The whole crew and cast would be fired and I’d let everyone down, because Peter Roth said he wouldn’t recast and I just lost the studio millions (by getting injured on his set),” Rose writes. They proposed letting their character be written off for a few weeks “to heal,” but the studio rejected that idea.
- Rose was not allowed to attend Comic-Con in person due to their schedule, which the studio wouldn’t rearrange. In an Instagram video — which Rose was forced to record or else “they would be silent” about the absence — Rose was told to cover their surgery scars.
- Rose accuses Dries, who Rose says visited the set only “4 times in a year” for forcing production to continue at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I told her everyone was too distracted, constantly checking Covid updates,” Rose writes. Production was later stopped only after a government order.
- Though Rose’s injury happened on set, Rose says Dries laid blame on Rose doing yoga. “I don’t do yoga,” Rose writes.
- Rose admits they “fought people on set, not because I wanted to but because I wanted safety.”
- Rose names co-stars Dougray Scott, who played their character’s father, as “unprofessional” who “hurt a female stunt double” and “yelled like a little bitch at women.” “He left when he wanted and arrived when he wanted,” Rose writes. Scott left the series in 2021.
- Rose says co-star Camrus Johnson is an “egomaniac kid” who had the “audacity” to blame the show’s production delays on Rose and their injuries.
- Rose says they were never given transporation despite being legally unable to drive after their surgery. “So they said, ‘get a taxi,’” Rose says.
On October 20, former Batwoman star Ruby Rose shared on Instagram a series of posts detailing their negative experience on the DC TV series. (Click to expand)
On Instagram, Rose names several individuals, including former executive Peter Roth, whom they allege hired a private investigator on them. (Click to expand)
Rose alleges a toxic environment where they were forced to work through surgery recovery and witness harrowing accidents that left the crew with permanent injuries. (Click to expand)
Inverse reached out to The CW for comment, and Warner Bros. Television Group replied with the following statement:
“Despite the revisionist history that Ruby Rose is now sharing online aimed at the producers, the cast and crew, the network, and the Studio, the truth is that Warner Bros. Television had decided not to exercise its option to engage Ruby for season two of BATWOMAN based on multiple complaints about workplace behavior that were extensively reviewed and handled privately out of respect for all concerned.”
The Inverse Analysis — Rose is not the first person to speak up about The CW’s management of its popular TV shows. At this rate, they may not be the last. One of the first instances of the Arrowverse suffering trouble behind the camera was the 2017 firing of producer Andrew Kreisberg, over numerous allegations of sexual harassment.
Earlier in 2021, actor Dominic Purcell of the series Legends of Tomorrow had a strange Instagram post (later deleted) in which Purcell said the “studio does not care.” He later walked back on his posts, saying it was a joke.
Superhero media insider Daniel Richtman posted on his Patreon page (via GiantFreakingRobot) in early 2021 of “issues behind the scenes” of the popular Arrowverse. “[A]ctors wanting to leave because of the way the producers and bigger-ups acts,” Richtman wrote.
As of right now, there is a widespread reckoning concerning labor in the Hollywood film and TV industry. Heating up in the last few weeks was an impending potential strike from unionized members of IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees), the representatives of technicians, artists, and other craftspersons in the entertainment industry. Harrowing stories of long hours, accidents, fatigue, low pay, and more led to entertainment workers speaking up about toxic work environments.
While a strike was narrowly avoided, the tentative deal in place has left union members unsatisfied with the proposed agreements.
A 2017 story about Riverdale star K.J. Apa falling asleep driving home supports Rose’s account of not being provided safe transportation home. Rose’s experience, while specific to them, broadly illustrates how unsafe conditions can be even for the lead of a TV show.
Rose first played the role in a 2018 crossover special before Batwoman’s first season between 2019 and 2020. Rose left the series after, with a new lead character written for and played by actress Javicia Leslie.
In their posts, Rose insists that they “did not quit.”