Ezra Miller did not, to put it mildly, invoke their right to remain silent. This past March, the actor was arrested in a tiki bar called Margarita Village in Hilo, Hawaii, after shouting profanities, spitting in a patron’s face, and grabbing a microphone from a woman singing karaoke to “Shallow” from A Star Is Born. Miller claimed to have been accosted by a Nazi and to have evidence. In fact, one of the first things you hear the actor say in the three-minute police body-cam video that circulated after the arrest is something the officers had likely never heard from a disorderly dive bar patron before: “I film myself when I get assaulted for NFT crypto art.”
Once outside, Miller—sweaty and disheveled in a black suit jacket, burgundy pants, and a red tie—barks at the cops to state their full names and badge numbers. When one attempts to search Miller’s pockets, the actor says twice, rapid-fire, “I’m transgender nonbinary. I don’t want to be searched by a man.” After being called “sir,” the actor responds, “That is an act of intentional bigotry and a technical hate crime.” Miller, whose pronouns are they/them, registers their objection to being “unlawfully persecuted for a crime of no designation,” says they have preexisting nerve damage from police handcuffs, and expands on the Nazi’s assault. “You should have told us that instead of running away,” an officer replies placidly. “We could have took care of everything real quick. But you wanted to play the game.”
When the police empty Miller’s pockets, they find styrofoam Nerf bullets and place them in a plastic bag, along with the single accessory linking the person in cuffs to the movie that their acclaimed career, as well as $200 million of Warner Bros.’s money, is riding on: a ring emblazoned with their DC Comics superhero character. By now, Miller seems to have burned out their rage. “The Flash ring means a lot to me,” the actor says quietly. “It’s very valuable.”
That arrest was just one turn in a downward spiral so confusing and troubling that even old friends have difficulty parsing the chaos. What’s clear is that Miller has been endangering not just their career, but also their safety—and allegedly that of others—in increasingly plain sight for the last two years. Since 2020, the actor has been accused of crimes and abuses spanning 6,000 miles and two oceans: throwing a chair that hit a woman in the forehead, threatening a couple in their bedroom and stealing their wallet and passport in Hawaii, on top of the incident at Margarita Village; choking two strangers in Iceland; and breaking into a neighbor’s home in Vermont to steal alcohol, which resulted in a felony charge.
In June, two protection orders were issued against Miller. The first was filed in tribal court in North Dakota by Chase Iron Eyes, a Native American businessman, and his wife, Sara Jumping Eagle, on behalf of their 18-year-old, Tokata Iron Eyes, who goes by Gibson. They accuse Miller of grooming, brainwashing, and emotionally abusing the teenager, a nonbinary Indigenous activist Miller met when Iron Eyes was just 12. The tribal court put a temporary order in place, but ultimately dismissed the request for a permanent one, and the parents say they withdrew their request for custody, believing the odds were stacked against them. The second order was requested by a mother in Massachusetts, claiming that Miller’s interest in her own nonbinary 12-year-old made her and the child uncomfortable in incidents between February and June of this year. The actor denies the allegations.
Most recently, Vermont State Police were dispatched to Miller’s farm with an emergency order from the Department for Children and Families. A 25-year-old woman named Ana had moved her three young children into the household. Though the woman has said that Ezra saved her family from an abusive situation, Miller’s farm was said to be gun-ridden and unsafe for children. “I saw more guns than ever, and three little kids running around among them,” a longtime friend who visited in May tells VF. “The youngest girl picked up a bullet and put it in her mouth.” The order issued on August 5 demanded that custody of Ana’s kids immediately be transferred to the state. But when police arrived at the movie star’s farm, Ana and the children were gone. The children’s father tells VF that he has not spoken to his kids since April. A court date concerning custody has been set for October, in Hawaii.
Warner Bros. has not commented on their marquee superhero, and declined to speak for this story. But a source close to the situation says the studio and the actor’s agency, CAA, suggested Miller work with someone in crisis PR. On August 15, Miller finally admitted that they were in the midst of “an intense crisis,” and said in a statement: “I now understand that I am suffering complex mental health issues and have begun ongoing treatment. I want to apologize to everyone that I have alarmed and upset with my past behavior. I am committed to doing the necessary work to get back to a healthy, safe and productive stage in my life.” A source with knowledge of the situation tells Vanity Fair that the work currently consists of undergoing therapy.
Over the last six weeks, VF has spoken to more than a dozen people who crossed paths with Miller in recent years, some of whom worked closely or lived with the actor on the 95-acre farm in Vermont. Most sources described Miller’s spiral as a conflagration of the mental health issues the actor has acknowledged, along with drugs, guns, and outlandish claims, that has raged for more than two years. They say the actor verbally and emotionally abused those around them and referred to themself alternately as Jesus and the devil. Three people say Miller has also wrapped the superhero they play into their grandiose speechifying. The actor, says one source, was “claiming that the Flash is the one who brings the multiverses together just like Jesus.”
All this has been a disturbing trajectory for Miller, whose critical breakthrough came at 19 with their deeply unnerving performance in the 2011 school-massacre drama We Need to Talk About Kevin. The following year, Miller proved their range with a charismatic turn in the coming-of-age story The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Since then, the actor has hopscotched from indies like The Stanford Prison Experiment to full-blown franchise stardom, appearing opposite Johnny Depp in the Harry Potter spin-off series Fantastic Beasts, which has grossed about $1.8 billion. The Flash is due out in June of next year.