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The Complete History of Ezra Miller’s Controversial Career

Ezra Miller. Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images

From beloved Perks of Being a Wallflower beginnings to becoming a rising star in Hollywood, Ezra Miller was supposed to be a queer blockbuster-movie star, a flower-child eccentric who lives in Vermont and plays The Flash, and an activist who stood up for victims of gender-based violence and Indigenous communities. Instead, the 2020s ushered in a different kind of Ezra Miller, who would be caught on video physically attacking a fan at an Iceland bar, rumored to be leading a cult, and accused of grooming an 18-year-old Sioux activist. As The Flash movie remains set for 2023 seemingly without alarm, Miller’s next film is Dalíland, which premieres at Toronto International Film Festival on September 17. Miller went from indie darling to getting Harry Potter paychecks to facing felony burglary charges in quite a flash, so here’s a timeline to understand how we got here.

Early Life: 1992–2010

1992–2008: Ezra Miller grew up in New Jersey with their father, publisher Robert S. Miller of Workman Publishing; their mother Marta, a dancer; and their two older sisters. The family also had a home in Chelsea for their forays into the city, as one does. They were born with a speech impediment, so they turned to opera to focus on “control and manipulation of the breath,” Miller told the Daily Beast in 2017. They eventually overcame their stutter.

Summer 2001: Miller stars in the Robert Wilson and Philip Glass opera White Raven. “That was a very confusing and trippy creation tale, and I was a kid who brought up the sun and rotated the Earth,” they told Collider later. “It was very empowering.” Miller went on to join the children’s chorus at the Metropolitan Opera for two seasons.

May 18, 2008: Antonio Campos’ drama Afterschool premieres at Cannes, in which Miller plays Robert, an internet-addicted loner who fetishizes cell-phone footage. After he accidentally films the death of twins at his boarding school, he is tasked with making a video tribute for the girls. “That was a great film experience because of how fucked up it was and like a psychotic filmmaking process with young kids,” they say in a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “And then I was just hooked to film.” After the film is released, Miller drops out of Hoboken’s Hudson School during their junior year.

Indie Darling: 2011–2015

May 12, 2011: Fresh off the heels of small TV roles and parts in small films, Miller breaks through with We Need to Talk About Kevin. Miller plays the titular role in the movie, which tells the story of a mother (Tilda Swinton) coming to terms with the horrors her teenage son committed. The Lynne Ramsay–directed film goes on to become a Cannes darling, cementing Miller as a rising talent. While shooting, Miller refrained from speaking with their mother for the entirety of the shoot to better inhabit the mind of their psychopathic character. “In the moments where my mind could escape Kevin’s, I had this growing, gathering appreciation for every­thing that my mother did right,” they tell New York Magazine in 2012. “But to bring back to the forefront of my brain this loving, empathetic relationship with my mother would have been extremely detrimental to either me or the film, so it was really essential that she, uh, keep fair distance.”

June 28, 2011: Miller is a passenger in a vehicle that is pulled over for a broken brake light in Pittsburgh while shooting Perks of Being a Wallflower. Police find 20 grams of marijuana on Miller. The then 18-year-old is charged with drug possession, but the judge drops the case. The actor instead faces two citations of disorderly conduct and is ordered to pay $600. “I don’t feel like there’s any need to hide the fact that I smoke pot,” they would tell New York Magazine. “It’s a harmless herbal substance that increases sensory appreciation.”

November 17, 2011: “I, like the rest of my generation, have proceeded through the last decade of my life with hopelessness,” Miller says, speaking at the Occupy Wall Street Day of Action. “Truly feeling the profit motivation of this society will inevitably lead to economic despair, environmental ruin, and the loss of civil liberty.”

September 8, 2012: Perks of Being a Wallflower bows at Toronto International Film Festival. Miller co-stars as Patrick Stewart, a gay high-school senior who, together with Sam (Emma Watson), takes depressed freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) under their wing. The film, based on a popular coming-of-age novel, launches Miller into the realm of teen heartthrob and household name. During the press tour for Perks, Miller talks school bullying and officially comes out. “I’m queer,” they tell Out Magazine. “I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular. I’ve been trying to figure out relationships, you know?”

“I just want kids in all situations to hold on,” they go on. “A lot of [adolescence] left me wanting to end my own life, just give up. It feels like the whole world — because it is. It’s your whole world. But, man — life is a really, really cool ride. It’s really amazing the type of shit you can get up to if you endure. Like, you can do anything you want if you can survive.”

March 25, 2013: Greenpeace announces that Miller will travel to the North Pole in early April to plant a “flag for the future” — a capsule containing a petition with nearly three million signatures to protect the Arctic. They will trek with other activists who are on the front lines of climate change. Maybe Cousin Greg has a point; the White House lawn seems closer.

October 15, 2014: Miller is cast as the Flash in the DC Comics cinematic universe, beating out Grant Gustin, who plays the character in the CW series of the same name. “Barry Allen is the hero of the Silver Age who follows a lot of really interesting discoveries in physics,” Miller tells MTV News in 2015. “Where he comes from is where we figured out the Event Horizon was there, and he was the character who was created through our mythos machine of comic books to break that Event Horizon, so you could explore in fantasy … I think that’s an interesting idea. And, what’s an interesting idea to me is, ‘What the fuck does that do to someone?’”

January 26, 2015: Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s Stanford Prison Experiment premieres at Sundance Film Festival. The film explores the 1971 psychology experiment conducted by a Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo where male volunteers were randomly assigned to the roles of prisons or guards. Over the course of five days, the guards increasingly brutalized the prisoners, forcing the unethical experiment to end on its sixth day. In a leading role, Miller portrays one of the prisoners.

March 31, 2015: Miller releases their first official EP with band Sons of an Illustrious Father, which they’ve been linked to as early as 2011, describing the band as helping them discover their relationship to the world and mental illness. “I think there was a lot of mental illness that I did not know how to manage or deal with in the earliest times of the band. I was 15 or 16, I didn’t have any real means of monitoring myself, and I was also working in film and having this strange type of exposure,” they told Vulture in 2018. “I was feeling insecure about that relationship to the world and what it would actually mean for me, I was feeling insecure in my decisions up to that point to take that path, and I was feeling insecure about the ways it held the potential to really separate me from people I love. That was tied into the illness that I was discovering in myself.”

June 24, 2015: Miller is in talks for a role in Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This is Miller’s second role in a major studio franchise.

Franchise Roles: 2015–2019

March 19, 2016: Warner Bros. releases Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Miller makes their first appearance as the Flash.

July 26, 2016: They perform an emotional, and at times somewhat strange, piano rendition of Rihanna’s “Work” at San Diego Comic-Con.

August 1, 2016: Suicide Squad premieres. Miller makes their second appearance as the Flash.

November 10, 2016: Miller stars as Credence Barebone in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The movie also features Johnny Depp, despite the fact that his last few big-budget films decisively flopped, his struggles with drug abuse, and his continued domestic-abuse allegations.

July 23, 2017: After asking fans why their character the Flash would have trouble getting drunk at a San Diego Comic Con event, someone in the crowd correctly answers that Flash’s metabolic rate makes getting tipsy difficult. Another fan jokingly asks Miller to smell their breath to be sure. Miller responds by kissing the fan on the mouth, without clear consent, per reports from TMZ.

November 13, 2017: Miller gets to reprise their role as the Flash in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

July 24, 2018: Miller cosplays as Toadette from Mario Kart and gives a bizarre red-carpet interview to Clevver News in character. With their mushroom posse in tow, Miller answers questions in gibberish and scurries off when the interviewer asks them if they need a cocktail.

August 16, 2018: Miller and their band are interviewed by 14-year-old activist Gibson (formerly Tokata) Iron Eyes for Sleek Magazine. Iron Eyes had initially met Miller while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016.

November 7, 2018: In a Hollywood Reporter profile, they discuss their gender and an alleged experience where they endured sexual harassment. “Queer just means no, I don’t do that,” they clarify. “I don’t identify as a man. I don’t identify as a woman. I barely identify as a human.” Miller claims that a director and producer offered to exchange sexual favors for a movie role when they were underage. “They gave me wine and I was underaged,” they tell THR. “They were like, ‘Hey, want to be in our movie about gay revolution?’ And I was like, ‘No, you guys are monsters.’”

In that same interview, Miller asks the writer if she would like to see the crossbow that Miller’s character used to murder several classmates in We Need to Talk About Kevin. They apparently keep the crossbow in their house.

November 15, 2018: They pose for Playboy and talk gender, sexuality, art, and Me Too. “Of course I’ve been in audition situations where sexuality was totally being leveraged,” they say. “It’s really important to acknowledge the diversity of voices who have experienced this shit, and all genders, all capacities, all types of people. Everyone is victim to it. Everyone is a survivor of it. Art is the only thing that I have. If I didn’t have art, I’d be so fucking dead — so long ago, I’d be dead. I probably would have done it myself.”

Erratic Behavior, Abuse, and Grooming Allegations: 2020–Present

February 2020: When filming for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller reportedly took up residence at an Airbnb in an Iceland suburb along with “artists, expats, and spiritual confidants,” according to an August 4 Business Insider report. One anonymous woman, who compared the house to a “commune,” felt like “everyone was hypnotized.” Miller reportedly paid for food, weed, and lodging at the Airbnb, where they were said to have held speeches about spirituality, alluding to possessing spiritual powers. Several sources told BI they were afraid of Miller’s emotional outbursts.

April 1, 2020: In a since-deleted tweet, a disturbing video alleges to show Miller choking a woman and throwing her to the ground at Prikið Kaffihús, a bar in Reykjavik, Iceland. Variety confirms that the altercation took place at the trendy bar and employees identify Miller in the video, who they escort from the premises. The seven-second clip makes its rounds on Twitter on April 6, and shows a person saying, “Oh you wanna fight? That’s what you wanna do?” to a woman in a bar. She appears to be jokingly readying herself for a fight. The person, identified as Miller, then grabs the woman by the throat and throws her to the ground. “Woah, bro,” says the person filming the incident. “Bro.” A source at the bar tells Variety that the situation began after “pushy” fans confront Miller, until Miller physically attacks the woman. Restaurant staff escort Miller from the premises. They are not under investigation by authorities following the incident, police confirm to The Wrap.

That month, BI later reported, Miller rented out parts of a hotel in northern Iceland to record music with local musicians. One young woman, who was 18 at the time, began a sexual relationship with Miller during the six days she stayed at the hotel. “Ezra was super-manipulative. They kind of had us all under their finger,” she said, describing several verbal altercations. “They were able to twist and pull everything that I thought I knew about the world.”

January 28, 2022: In a since-deleted video posted to their Instagram account, Miller tells members of a North Carolina chapter of the Ku Klux Klan to “kill themselves” with their own guns, or else “we’ll do it for you if that’s what you want.” It’s unclear if Miller is responding to a specific incident. The video goes viral on social media.

March 4, 2022: Asking for It premieres. The revenge film tackles sexual assault and co-stars Ezra Miller, Vannesa Hudgens, Kiersey Clemons, and Alexandra Shipp. On April 20, director Eamon O’Rourke allegedly punches trans comedian Grace Freud twice in the head.

March 27, 2022: “The Flash Enters the Speed Force” in the Snyder Cut of the Justice League wins the Oscars Fan Favorite Moment. The Flash won an Oscar before Annette Bening? Winona Ryder? Glenn Close??? Kristen Stewart?????

March 27, 2022: Miller is arrested in Hawaii and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment following a physical confrontation with patrons at a karaoke bar. In a public statement from the Hawaii Police Department Hilo Patrol, police allege that Miller became “agitated” while patrons began singing a karaoke rendition of “Shallow” from A Star is Born. They began yelling “obscenities” at the patrons and grabbed a microphone from a woman singing karaoke and later lunged at a man playing darts, according to police. “The bar owner asked Miller to calm down several times to no avail,” police state. Miller’s $500 bail is paid by a couple they live with at a hostel. Per TMZ, a video circulates of a weeks-earlier confrontation with police in Hawaii.

March 29, 2022: The couple who lived with Miller at the hostel file a restraining order against the actor. In documents obtained by Radar Online, the couple ask the court to order Miller to not contact them in any form and to stay away from their home and places of work. Following the incident at the karaoke bar, the couple claims that Miller returned home and threatened the couple, saying “I will bury you and your slut wife.” The petition alleges that Miller stole the wife’s passport and the husband’s wallet, which contains his credit cards, social-security card, and driver’s license. It’s unclear whether the items were returned. A judge grants the couple the restraining order the following day. The order is dropped in mid-April.

April 6, 2022: Sources tell Rolling Stone that Warner Bros. and DC executives held an emergency impromptu meeting to discuss Miller’s recent controversies and their future with the studio. “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,” Rolling Stone reports. An inside source says that Miller had “frequent meltdowns” during last year’s production of The Flash, although the sources stresses that Miller did not yell or have violent outbursts.

April 19, 2022: Three weeks after their March arrest, the actor was again taken into custody in Hawaii for allegedly throwing a chair which hit a woman at a private party, leaving the 26-year-old woman with a half-inch cut on her forehead. In a public statement from Hawaii police, authorities say that Miller was arrested around 1:30 a.m. during a traffic stop and released from custody at around 4 a.m. pending further investigation.

May 16, 2022: Music producer Oliver Ignatious and rapper Ghais Guevara claim that Miller stole the music they worked on and posted it on social media without credits. Ignatious and Miller met up in both the Northeast and Hawaii to collaborate on new music, weeks before their first arrest in Hawaii. Ignatious plans to file a court order for Miller to take the music down. The link to the songs are no longer featured on Miller’s Instagram bio.

June 8, 2022: The parents of 18-year-old activist Gibson Iron Eyes, who is nonbinary, accuse Miller of grooming their child. In court documents obtained by TMZ from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court, Gibson’s parents, attorney and activist Chase Iron Eyes, and pediatrician Sara Jumping Eagle seek intervention from the court, alleging that Miller has been involved with their child since they were 12. A judge signed the request for a protective order, which says Miller cannot contact the child, Sara, or Chase or be within 100 yards of their residence.

Gibson and Miller met while they were both protesting for the LandBack Reclamation Movement. in Standing Rock in 2016. According to court documents, Miller allegedly flew Gibson to London in 2017 to visit the set of Fantastic Beasts. Gibson was 14 at the time and Ezra was 25. Their parents allege Miller tried to sleep in the same bed as Gibson and provided Gibson with alcohol, marijuana, and LSD. The parents go on to accuse the actor of influencing Gibson in their decision to drop out of their private school in Massachusetts in December 2021. (Miller offered to pay their tuition when Gibson was 16 and their parents believe this created a “a sense of indebtedness”). They add that when they flew to Vermont in January to check on Gibson, their child had bruises on their body, and was not in possession of their own driver’s license, car keys, or bank card. Since then, Gibson and Ezra have been traveling together, Gibson’s parents claim. They were spotted in Hawaii together in a video, per TMZ. “Ezra uses violence, intimidation, threat of violence, fear, paranoia, delusions, and drugs to hold sway over a young adolescent Tokata,” court documents allege. A hearing is scheduled for July 12.

Gibson issued a statement on Instagram on June 6 in which they accuse their parents of being “transphobic” and deny the allegations. “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,” reads their statement. “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,” Gibson continued. “I am now aware of the severity of emotional and psychological manipulation I was made to endure while in my parents home.” The previous day, Gibson had posted a video on Instagram of themself and Miller smoking cigarettes.

June 9, 2022: Gibson’s parents say that Miller and Gibson remain “on the run,” while the court has not been able to “locate or serve” the actor because their whereabouts are unknown. Gibson releases a video statement on Instagram, saying that “nobody is controlling my Instagram account,” and expresses disappointment in the press coverage. “It’s really distressing that the narrative of the ‘victim’ in question is not being granted any trust. I worked really hard to make really clear what was going on,” they said in the video. “If the statements are too profoundly contrasting to whatever assumptions those of us have garnered and have chosen to carry, I’d like to say that it’s nobody’s business and nobody is owed a story. Or an outcome.”

June 10, 2022: Miller has yet to be served, Gibson’s parents tell the Los Angeles Times.

June 15, 2022: Miller appears to have deleted their Instagram, as reported by CBR, after posting memes to their Story that may have been alluding to authorities’ inability to find them. “I am shielded from negative people & their ill intent. My spirit, mind, body, soul + success are not altered by anyone’s envy,” one post read. “I am protected from all negative NRG people attempt to throw at me. Subconsciously & consciously. I clear any & all hidden peers who are hidden enemies.”

June 16, 2022: The Daily Beast publishes a report speaking with an alleged victim of Miller’s, a 12-year-old nonbinary child who alleges that they were targeted by Miller. On Wednesday, June 15, the child and their mother were granted a temporary harassment prevention order against Miller, claiming that the actor menaced the family on the evening of February 2 at their neighbor’s downstairs apartment and acted inappropriately toward the child. The case was filed at their local courthouse in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Miller came into contact with the family due to their connections with the family’s neighbor, who is in a band with Miller’s friend Whitney Suters. “[Miller] was wearing a bulletproof vest — and I had no idea until later that they were armed,” the neighbor told the Daily Beast. 

According to the neighbor, the evening went sideways after the mother called her friends “her tribe,” causing Miller — whom they believed to be “under the influence” — to accuse her of cultural appropriation. Following this snafu, Miller claimed that the board game Parcheesi was of Rastafarian roots, which the half-Black neighbor questioned. Ezra snapped after this interaction, the neighbor alleges. “Then they 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 neighbor tells the Daily Beast.

After this altercation, Miller allegedly began to harass the mother and the then-11-year-old child, telling the parents that they are well equipped to mentor the child. “I’ve talked extensively with your child, and they have a lot of power to them. At one point, you’re going to realize that you don’t have any control over them anymore. They’re an elevated being, and they would be lucky to have someone like me guide them,” Miller said, according to the neighbor, mother, and child. The trio claim that Miller additionally asked the mother if she would like to drink their blood because she dresses in a goth style.

The child accuses Miller of uncomfortably moving their chair closer to them, hugging them, and touching their hips. The child also alleges that Miller asked them to follow them on Instagram, and told the child that they would purchase horses for them to raise on their Vermont farm. “It was really uncomfortable. I was really nervous. I was scared to be around them after he’d yelled at my mother and she was crying,” the child remembers. According to the report by the Daily Beast, Miller returned to the home dressed as a cowboy on June 4 to apologize.

June 23, 2022: A Rolling Stone investigation revealed that a 25-year-old woman and her three children, ages 1 to 5, have been living at The Flash actor’s Vermont farm in a roommate situation that worries the children’s father as well as two sources close to the situation. The two sources say they’re concerned with the living arrangements because Miller’s home has unattended guns strewn across the living room and mature marijuana plants growing on the property. According to one of the sources, the 1-year-old child allegedly played with a loose bullet and placed it in her mouth. According to Instagram posts reviewed by the site, the mother and children — who remain anonymous — appear to still be living at the Vermont farm. Rolling Stone asked why the father has not confronted Miller or gone to the police. “I don’t want [the children] to see anything like that. I just want them to see that, ‘Hey [Dad] showed up, let’s get in the car and go.’ It’s been traumatic enough,” he says. Vulture has reached out to Miller for comment.

June 30, 2022: A woman identified as Nadia alleges to Variety that Miller harassed her in Germany in February 2022. She and Miller had a consensual sexual encounter in 2020 and were friends for two years before she invited them to her Berlin apartment. She alleges that she was worried that the actor could “somehow attack me physically” after she told them they couldn’t smoke in her home that night. “That just set them off,” Nadia recalls. “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.’ It became so, so stressful for me.” She adds that Miller subsequently went around her house in a way that felt “disgusting and very intrusive,” touching everything and spreading tobacco leaves on the floor. According to Nadia, it took a call to the police and a half-hour of pleading before she convinced Miller to leave.

In the same Variety piece, the woman whom Miller appeared to choke in Iceland in April 2020 gives her account of the incident. Before the scuffle, she spoke to the actor at the bar about scrapes on their feet that were visible in flip-flops. According to the woman, who remains anonymous, Miller explained that the wounds were battle scars from a fight. At the end of the conversation, she reportedly joked, “But just so you know, I could take you in a fight.” When they asked if she really wanted to fight, she told them to meet her in the smoking area in two minutes. Miller eventually confronted her outside the bar. “I think it’s just fun and games — but then it wasn’t,” she remembers.

August 8, 2022: The Vermont State Police confirms that Miller has been charged with the “offense of felony burglary into an unoccupied dwelling” in Stamford, Vermont. According to a police report, several bottles of alcohol were taken from the home. Probable cause was found after a review of surveillance videos and statements, and Miller was issued a citation on August 7. They are scheduled to appear in court on September 26.

August 9, 2022: Dalíland, the Mary Harron film starring Miller as a young Salvador Dalí, is set to close the Toronto International Film Festival on September 17. In the announcement, TIFF leaves Miller off of the cast list, but The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Miller is still appearing in the film amid … everything you just read.

The Complete History of Ezra Miller’s Controversial Career