Fact Check

Did Warner Bros. Drop Rob Reiner for 'Spreading Too Much Wokeness'?

A website reported that Warner Bros. terminated a $50 million contract with the director.

Published Dec 13, 2023

 (Montclair Film Festival / Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Montclair Film Festival / Wikimedia Commons
Claim:
In December 2023, Warner Bros. announced it would be ending a $50 million production deal with acclaimed director Rob Reiner because "he was spreading too much wokeness."

On Dec. 12, 2023, SpaceXMania.com published an article positing that the Hollywood studio Warner Bros. had announced they were terminating a contract with director Rob Reiner because he was "spreading too much wokeness." The article was also posted to the site's Facebook page, SpaceX Lovers, where many comments supported the studio's supposed decision, saying things like "Awesome, keep up the great reporting!" These comments suggested that people believed the article, which began as follows, was real.

“He Was Spreading Too Much Wokeness”: Warner Bros Terminates $50 Million Production Deal with Rob Reiner

In a move that has sent ripples across the entertainment industry, Warner Bros. has reportedly severed its $50 million production deal with acclaimed director Rob Reiner. The reason cited for this abrupt termination? An alleged excess of “wokeness” in Reiner’s approach to filmmaking. This development marks a significant moment in the ongoing debate about the role of social and political themes in Hollywood productions.

It was not real. There is no evidence that Reiner had a contract with Warner Bros., and his most recent movie, the documentary "Albert Brooks: Defending My Life," was not produced or distributed by Warner Bros. The story originated from SpaceXMania, a website that posts satirical content. The story was marked as satire on the site itself but there was no indication of the post's satirical nature on Facebook. Regardless, the website notes on its disclaimer page:

Please note that the article under the category “SATIRE” are satirical in nature and are not meant to be taken seriously. These articles are meant to be humorous and are often entirely made up. We make no claim that the information presented in these articles is true or accurate.

Readers should exercise caution and use their own judgment when reading and interpreting our satirical articles. We take no responsibility for any actions taken based on the content of these articles.

Satirical news sites like SpaceXMania have now published several articles spreading similar claims, three of which Snopes has checked. Two claims targeted Robert De Niro: one connected him with "Passion of The Christ" star Jim Caviezel, who reportedly called him "ungodly," while the other claimed that Mel Gibson supposedly called De Niro "creepy." An additional claim said that Mel Gibson refused to work with Rob Reiner because Gibson couldn't handle Reiner's "wokeness."

All three of these claims originated with websites that label their content "satire."

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

Sources

Albert Brooks: Defending My Life (2023) - Company Credits - IMDb. www.imdb.com, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt20274588/companycredits/. Accessed 13 Dec. 2023.
Disclaimer - SpaceXMania. 3 Jan. 2021, https://spacexmania.com/disclaimer/.
Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/SpaceXElon/posts/pfbid0rYhRWrq7MKwhttj8PNEWUKrw4acoyK2BAD1Nr9qF7gXUo1U32Xj7dsp6ErycmZTvl. Accessed 13 Dec. 2023.
“He Was Spreading Too Much Wokeness”: Warner Bros Terminates $50 Million Production Deal with Rob Reiner. 12 Dec. 2023, https://spacexmania.com/he-was-spreading-too-much-wokeness-warner-bros-terminates-50-million-production-deal-with-rob-reiner/.
Izzo, Jack. “Did Jim Caviezel Refuse To Work With Robert De Niro Because He Was ‘Ungodly’?” Snopes, 6 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jim-caviezel-robert-de-niro/.
---. “Did Mel Gibson Decline a $35M Role in Rob Reiner’s Upcoming Movie?” Snopes, 12 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/rob-reiner-mel-gibson/.
PerryCook, Taija. “Did Mel Gibson Back Out of $33M Project with Robert De Niro?” Snopes, 8 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/mel-gibson-robert-de-niro-33-million-project/.

Jack Izzo is a Chicago-based journalist and two-time "Jeopardy!" alumnus.