“No Time to Die” director Cary Fukunaga is being accused of inappropriate workplace behavior and abusing his power on set to engage in relationships with younger women. Anonymous sources from the production of the upcoming AppleTV+ miniseries “Masters of the Air,” on which the 44-year-old Fukunaga serves as a director, told Rolling Stone that he engaged in an “absolute, clear-cut abuse of power” when engaging with young female actresses and crew members.
Fukunaga denies the claim, with his attorney Michael Plonsker issuing a statement that notes, “There is nothing salacious about pursuing friendships or consensual romantic relationships with women.” Plonsker continued that “no one ever — not once — voiced such sentiments to” Fukunaga over harassment claims. “He creates a work environment that is creative, collaborative and welcoming to all,” Plonsker said in a statement.
IndieWire has reached out to representatives for Fukunaga and at Apple TV+ for comment.
Fukunaga also faces allegations of grooming now-23-year-old actress and skateboarder Rachelle Vinberg, whom he met when she was 18. Vinberg took to social media earlier this month to share a filtered selfie with Fukunaga, captioning, “I spent years being scared of him. Man’s a groomer and has been doing this shit for years. Beware, women.” She later reposted Fukunaga’s pro-choice Instagram Story following the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“So he posted this today,” the “Skate Kitchen” star wrote. “And it pisses me off ’cause he literally doesn’t care about women. He only traumatizes them. I’ve spoken to many girls. Fuck you, Cary.”
Vinberg wrote that she met Fukunaga the day after she turned 18 at a casting call after a casting director approached her at a skatepark to audition for a Samsung commercial Fukunaga was directing. Vinberg added that Fukunaga asked her to pretend she was his niece when they were out in public together.
In a statement, lawyer Plonsker confirms that Fukunaga “had a very brief and consensual romantic relationship with [Vinberg] that has ended” and alleges that Vinberg’s claims stem from her being “clearly not happy with Mr. Fukunaga, but as everyone knows, relationships end all of the time and many times one person (or both) are unhappy.”
“Maniac” twin sister actresses Cailin Loesch and Hannah Loesch earlier shared a blog post alleging Fukunaga engaged them in a relationship that spanned years since meeting when they were 20 years old on the set of the Netflix series.
“We were not raped, fired from a job, or made to do anything physical against our will,” the joint statement from the Loesch sisters reads. “So why does it sting so bad now to see this man, the one who we willingly walked away from, propped up as the honorable creator who brought a much-needed, ‘feminist twist’ to an iconic film franchise?”
The post continued, “The point of writing it is not to start a witch hunt directed at Cary, or any one man. 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.”
Through his attorney, Fukunaga claims he never asked the sisters to participate in a threesome, as they suggested in their blog post. The Loeschs said that, while in a hot tub, Fukunaga asked about their willingness to participate in a threesome, and, per their post, said that “incest is fine ‘if all parties are okay with it.'”
Two sources on “Maniac” also claimed that Fukunaga liked to surround himself with young women. “We used to call it his fan club,” one said. “I’d be like, ‘Why the hell are all these young girls always hanging around like puppy dogs?’”
After Vinberg and the Loesch twins came forward, more of Fukunaga’s former partners commented. Margaret Qualley, who was romantically linked to Fukunaga in 2017, “liked” Vinberg’s post about “gaslighting” men on Instagram. Kristine Froseth, who also dated Fukunaga, shared Vinberg’s initial statement about Fukunaga in an Instagram story alongside posts about the stages and signs of grooming. Model Lizzie Swanson and her boyfriend, actor Charlie Plummer, who co-starred with Froseth on Hulu’s “Looking for Alaska,” also reposted Vinberg’s claims.
Swanson told Rolling Stone that she “knew Cary for a time and though he never physically acted upon anything, the emotional and mental patterns and manipulative tactics” that she experienced “are very, very much the same” as those Vinberg referred to.
“It’s absolutely fucked up and disgusting,” Swanson wrote. “I believe them and stand by them fully. He needs to be stopped.”
In 2021, Fukunaga was accused of firing “True Detective” actress Raeden Greer for refusing to be topless in a scene that was not in the original script. Greer was cast as an exotic dancer but nudity was not disclosed in her contract.
“Cary said to me at that moment, ‘Everybody on this show goes topless. All the women on the show go topless. Your character is a stripper, so you have to,'” Greer told The Daily Beast last year. “He was trying different things to convince me that it’s not a big deal. It [was] going to be very tasteful, or it’s just gonna be really insignificant in the background. I was like, ‘Well, if it’s so insignificant, why is he so insistent that I have to do this?’ It was just on and on and on with no budging.”
Greer called the encounter “degrading” and “humiliating.” She was later let go from the project in 2013.
Now in 2022 amid similar allegations of firing cast and crew members based on sexual preference and rebuffed advances, Fukunaga’s attorney states that the director “does not even make final hiring decisions. As with most directors, his hiring process is done in conjunction with many people and is based on an individual’s talent qualifications and whether they are the right fit for the project.”
Fukunaga’s former writing partner Nick Cuse voiced support for Vinberg and the Loesch twins. He wrote in his own Instagram Story that Fukunaga is the “worst human being I have ever met in my life,” saying that the way Fukunaga treats non-celebrities “is horrible.”
Cuse, who worked as a consultant on “No Time to Die” and was a co-producer and writer for “Maniac,” continued, “He didn’t groom me to fuck me, but he did use a lot of the same tactics to get me to write his scripts for him, which he would then put his name on. One time, after me spending three weeks on a script for him, he told me to open up the cover page and type his name under ‘Written By.’ I had to literally type in the stolen credit with my own fingers.”
The “No Time to Die” director formerly spoke out against Sean Connery’s past interpretation of James Bond, saying the vintage character “basically rapes a woman” in “Thunderball” and “Goldfinger.” Fukunaga helped enlist Phoebe Waller-Bridge to co-write “No Time to Die” with a feminist perspective.
A “Masters of the Air” production source told Rolling Stone that the director “does that masquerade” of trying to seem feminist. “He does things to sort of hide behind,” the source said. “‘Look I can’t possibly hurt women, I hire women. I do things for women.”
You can read the entire story at Rolling Stone.