Batwoman fans were stunned last year when Ruby Rose announced their sudden and unexpected departure from the Warner Bros. series after just one season as the titular DC hero. Rose’s exit was shocking, in part, because of how much enthusiasm she’d expressed about the series ahead of its premiere, but also because of how committed to the show’s success the CW seemed to be from the get-go.
According to the Rose, however, whatever impressions the public might have gotten about the CW’s commitment to treating its employees right were incorrect. In a series of troubling posts shared to her Instagram story on Tuesday stating “enough is enough,” the actor detailed at length their negative experience working on Batwoman, and accused former Warner Bros. TV Group chairman Peter Roth of workplace sexual harassment. The posts — which also tagged Batwoman executive producers Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, and producer Caroline Dries — alleges, among many other things, that Roth coerced at least one female colleague into interacting with his groin and that Roth made a concerted effort to oust Rose from her job.
“[N]ot sure if you left after getting promoted to the highest position because you just couldn’t stop making young women steam your pants, around your crotch while you were still wearing said pants or if you left after putting a private investigator on me who you fired as soon as the report didn’t fit your narrative, either way,” Rose said. “[W]hen it comes to you there’s already an army waiting for [you].”
Separate from their claims about Roth — but nonetheless concerning — were Rose’s accusations of the CW’s callous behaviour towards them following a 2019 on-set accident that took place during the filming of Batwoman’s first season. Rose opened up then about how, following the accident that injured her neck and spine, she had to undergo emergency surgery after concerns were raised about her potentially being paralysed. At the time, her comments were taken as a reminder about what kind of precautions need to be taken to ensure people’s safety on film sets. Rose’s new posts claim, though, that the CW was less concerned about their well-being after the accident than it was getting Batwoman’s first season in the can. She said of her injuries, “It’s worse than abnormal, this was diagnosed years ago on set but if I got an X-ray ‘we wouldn’t make our day,’ I have documented this for years.”
Along with text posts and photos of her injury scans, Rose also shared old footage of herself speaking with a doctor from her hospital bed soon after being X-rayed and learning that the damage was more serious than initially thought. Rose also claimed that, after the accident, the CW refused to adjust its shooting schedule to accommodate their healing process. “To everyone who said I was too stiff on Batwoman… imagine going back to work 10 days after this … 10 DAYS!!!!!!”, Rose wrote in a caption of an image in the hospital bed. “(Or the whole crew and cast would be fired and I’d led every one because Peter Roth said he would recast and I just lost the studio millions (by getting injured on his set) this is … the one who cost so many people their jobs. Instead of spending [half a] day to rewrite me out for a few weeks to heal.)”
Ahead of 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con, Rose shared a video announcing that she wouldn’t be able to join the rest of Batwoman’s cast for the show’s inaugural panel. At the time, Rose said that their absence was due to a particularly “ambitious episode” not yet being finished production, but in her new posts, she alleges she couldn’t attend the convention due to the studio refusing to adjust its shooting schedule. The video in which she apologised for not coming to Comic-Con, Rose said, was only recorded because the CW refused to release an announcement on its own. “Imagine taking a huge pay cut to play a passion project and being so excited about Comic-Con and then being told they would not adjust the schedule so I could attend,” Rose alleged in their more recent posts. “But then saying ‘We won’t announce it, you have to.’ And me putting my foot down and sayin why must I be the face of this??? Only to be told if I didn’t do this video they would be silent and people would turn up to find out on the day I wasn’t there… I folded.”
Throughout her posts, Rose reiterates how, despite the impression people got from the entire situation, it was never her desire to quit Batwoman, but rather that her firing was, she said, part of a larger pattern of abuse and gross negligence that all seemingly came to a head quite fast. Rose added that, in addition to her injuries, others on set sustained serious injuries that the studio did not handle with care, but unlike Rose, these people worked behind the camera. “A woman was left quadriplegic and they tried to blame it on her being on her phone, so much so CW didn’t [even] help her to start with because they needed to ‘investigate’ so she had to do a GoFundMe,” Rose alleged. “She’s a PA, they work via phones. Her accident occurred because our show refused to shut down when everyone else did because of covid.” She also alleged another crew member suffered third-degree burns that the cast and crew witnessed.
io9 reached out to multiple representatives at the CW for comment about Rose’s multiple allegations. A representative of WBTV said in a statement to Gizmodo: “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 behaviour that were extensively reviewed and handled privately out of respect for all concerned.”
Rose publicly left Batwoman in May of 2020, and as notable as that was, that year was also a complicated and difficult one for the television and film industries as a whole because of the covid-19 pandemic. But it was unclear at the time whether the actor’s departure was tied to how the production dealt with the public health crisis. She says now that Dries “has no heart and wanted us to finish the season throughout the pandemic … seeing Riverdale, The Flash, and Supergirl shut down already, I felt something bad would happen.” Additionally, Rose alleges Dries admitted the injuries happened on set but later denied it and said it happened during yoga, which Rose says she doesn’t do. Rose also alleged her co-star Dougray Scott — who plays Kate Kane’s father Jacob — “hurt a female stunt double” and “abused women.”
Rose did not initially explain her departure but a few weeks later said those close to her knew her reasons for leaving, and it seemed like the show’s future might be in jeopardy. An unnamed source talked to TV Line a day after the initial announcement alleging Rose was “distressed by the long hours” required by a lead role, and “It wasn’t 100-per cent her decision. It was a breakup. She wasn’t happy working on the show, and did that make her fun to work with? No. So everyone decided it would be in the best interests of the show, and for all concerned, if they parted ways. It just wasn’t a good fit.”
Just two months later, though, the CW threw everyone for a loop by announcing actress Javicia Leslie was joining the Batwoman cast as Ryan Wilder, a new character created specifically for the television series who quickly becomes Gotham’s new Batwoman after Kate Kane is thought to be missing or dead. Multiple vigilantes using the same supername is quite common in comic books and their adaptations, but what’s somewhat less common is for original TV characters to be swapped in as headliners, and for those same characters to almost immediately be brought over into the comics universe as Ryan Wilder was. Some time later, however, the role of Kate Kane — who was still alive but living with a different face — was recast to be played by Wallis Day.
To say that Ryan Wilder was fast-tracked into Batwoman would be putting it mildly, and Rose’s new accusations definitely cast a shadow over the character’s introduction given how unceremoniously Kate Kane was cast aside from the series to make room for her. Regardless, Rose was adamant she did not quit the show. “They ruined Kate Kane and they destroyed Batwoman, not me. I followed orders, and if I wanted to stay I was going to have to sign my rights away,” they wrote. Looking forward, it’s not clear if and how the CW will further respond to Rose’s allegations, but she is standing by the fact that she went toe-to-toe with their colleagues “not because I wanted to but because I wanted safety.”