In early May 2022, director Cary Joji Fukunaga commented on a leaked Supreme Court opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade. “Meanwhile in America, the Supreme Court is about to push us one step closer to war with ourselves … by legitimizing a war against women’s rights,” he wrote in an Instagram Story. His comments struck actor Rachelle Vinberg, who first worked with Fukunaga when she was 18, as hypocritical. “He literally doesn’t care about women,” she wrote on her own Instagram Story. “He only traumatizes them. I’ve spoken to many girls. Fuck you Cary.” Throughout the series of videos — still saved as a highlight on her Instagram profile as “Cary part 1” and “Cary part 2” — Vinberg details an “intimate” and “traumatizing” relationship with the director that ended after three years. “I spent years being scared of him,” she alleged. “Beware women.”
These aren’t the first allegations made against Fukunaga. Last October, actor Raeden Greer accused the director of firing her because she refused to go topless in a True Detective scene, per a Daily Beast report. Immediately following the Vinberg revelations a couple of weeks ago, twin journalists and podcast hosts Hannah and Cailin Loesch came forward to share their experiences with the director. They claim Fukunaga inappropriately pursued them on the set of Maniac when they were 20 and kept them close in the proceeding years. And now, multiple production sources claim that Fukunaga routinely abuses his power in his pursuit of young women on set, according to a Rolling Stone report published on May 31.
What was Cary Fukunaga accused of, and when?
October 13, 2021: During promotional activities for No Time to Die, Fukunaga spoke about his efforts to make a less misogynistic Bond film. “Is it Thunderball or Goldfinger where, like, basically Sean Connery’s character rapes a woman?” Fukunaga asked The Hollywood Reporter. “She’s like, ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ That wouldn’t fly today.” He went on to describe how he asked Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a known woman, to write the script for the movie not to be “woke” but to create fully fleshed female characters. “You can’t change Bond overnight into a different person. But you can definitely change the world around him and the way he has to function in that world,” he said. “It’s a story about a white man as a spy in this world, but you have to be willing to lean in and do the work to make the female characters more than just contrivances.”
Fukunaga’s comments frustrated Greer, who believes that Fukunaga treated her poorly on set, and later fired her, because she refused to appear topless on-camera. Back in 2013, Greer nabbed a role in True Detective, the Woody Harrelson–led series that earned Cary Fukunaga an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Although Greer says she was repeatedly told she would not be appearing nude, her costume on set suggested that she was. She said Fukunaga said to her at that moment something along the lines of, “‘Everybody on this show goes topless. All the women on the show go topless. Your character is a stripper, so you have to,’” Greer alleged to the Daily Beast. Shortly after Greer refused to appear naked, she says she was fired. “And now, Cary is out here talking about his female characters — it’s like another slap in the face over and over and over. Yes, he has had an illustrious career — that was a star-maker for him, and what happened to me? Nobody cares.”
May 5, 2022: After Cary Fukunaga posted about abortion rights on Instagram, Vinberg shared her experiences with the director on social media. In a series of videos on her Instagram Story, Vinberg says that she met Fukunaga the day after she turned 18 at a casting call for a Fukunaga-directed Samsung ad after she was scouted on the skate park. The two became close after messaging one another on social media, and eventually the relationship became “completely fully intimate” before they called it quits when she was 21 in December 2020. “It had to be a secret because it would look bad for him, because people wouldn’t understand, because it would make him look like a predator,” she said. Vinberg posted multiple photos of them together and screenshots of DMs with others who claim they were harassed by Fukunaga. “He’s basically brushed me off, gaslit me … Then I found out about all these other girls was like, ‘Oh, this is a pattern.’” Vinberg claims that she’s traumatized by the relationship. “I was diagnosed with PTSD from this guy,” she added in her posts.
Vinberg’s revelations prompted the twins Cailin and Hannah Loesch to come forward with a statement in support of the actor and to share their own experiences with Fukunaga. They say that they befriended the director when they were 20 on the set of Netflix’s Maniac in 2017, and he would repeatedly flirt with them. “The red flags were there, but we chose to let it slide,” they wrote. After continued encounters — including a moment where Cailin says Fukunaga placed his hand underneath her skirt while watching a movie with the twins in his bed — the two ended the friendship with Fukunaga. “The point of writing it is not to start a witch hunt directed at Cary, or any one man,” they continued. “We will never even know for sure what his intentions were. We only know what happened and how it made us feel. We’re sharing it because we know we aren’t alone in our experience, and the way it has stayed with us and worn on our hearts.”
May 14, 2022: Fukunaga’s former writing partner Nick Cuse shared a message in support of Vinberg and the Loesch twins on his Instagram Story, writing an account of how Fukunaga allegedly manipulated him, too. “Cary Fukunaga is the worst human being I have ever met in my life,” he began. “He didn’t groom me to fuck me, but he did use a lot of the same tactics to get me to write scripts for him.” Cuse, who served as a consultant on No Time to Die and a writer for Maniac, believes that he was “under the spell of a vile cult leader,” and went on to warn the industry against working with Fukunaga. He also said that the things Fukunaga has done to women are “horrible.”
May 31, 2022: Multiple sources accused Fukunaga of pursuing young women on set and engaging in inappropriate workplace behavior in a Rolling Stone report. Sources from the Apple TV+ miniseries Masters of the Air and various film, TV, and commercial productions over the past six years describe Fukunaga’s behavior as “a clear cut abuse of power” that approaches workplace harassment. Sources say that becoming close to young women on set and pursuing them is a trademark of his behavior. The stories offered by sources describe an environment where Fukunaga’s activities would make certain crew members uncomfortable, with some turning a blind eye. “He does that masquerade,” a Masters of the Air production source told Rolling Stone. “He does things to sort of hide behind … ‘Look I can’t possibly hurt women, I hire women. I do things for women.’”
What’s going on with the stick-and-poke tattoos?
According to multiple sources in the Rolling Stone report and Rachelle Vinberg’s posts, Fukunaga has a habit of giving girls stick-and-poke tattoos. “He gave me this tattoo when I was 18 years old,” Vinberg wrote. Two Rolling Stone sources corroborated this story, saying that he asked to tat them up. “Mr. Fukunaga is a talented ‘stick and poke’ tattoo artist and, as such, has been requested by many people — again men and women — to give the tattoos,” the director’s attorney wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone.
How did Fukunaga respond to the allegations?
Requests for comment on Raeden Greer’s story went unanswered. As for the allegations made by Vinberg, the Loesch twins, and the production sources, Fukunaga’s lawyer told Rolling Stone, “There is nothing salacious about pursuing friendships or consensual romantic relationships with women.” While a statement from Fukunaga’s attorney did acknowledge his relationship with Vinberg, he dismissed the grooming allegations.