In the spring of 2020, as the COVID crisis was rapidly becoming a global pandemic, Ezra Miller began wearing out their welcome in Iceland.
The actor — best known for playing the DC superhero the Flash in several films for Warner Bros. — was set to start filming the studio’s latest entry in the “Harry Potter” franchise, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” in London when the shoot was halted on March 15, 2020, due to COVID. In the weeks after, Miller, who identifies as nonbinary and uses “they/them” pronouns, became a regular at bars in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, where locals came to know and even befriend them. Many recognized Miller from their earliest breakout movies, 2012’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and 2011’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” where they played a troubled teen who brought a bow and arrow to school and murdered his classmates.
Miller, then 27, also started to show a different, volatile side to their personality — one that began to concern Icelanders.
“There was always something with Ezra,” said Carlos Reynir, then a bartender at Prikið Kaffihús, a pub located in the heart of Reykjavík.
Reynir said he intervened in two altercations at Prikið involving Miller. The first was a heated argument between Miller and a male patron that began as banter but ended in the actor putting the man in a chokehold and later slapping him. Reynir, who broke up the fight, says Miller later apologized, and the other patron quickly shrugged it off as a joke. The actor was allowed to continue frequenting the bar.
“We just brushed it off as two friends getting drunk and getting in a fight,” Reynir said. “It’s Iceland. That happens twice a weekend.”
But the next altercation, in which Miller assaulted a young woman at the bar, was harder to discount. The incident grabbed global headlines when footage of Miller placing the woman in a chokehold and then pushing her to the ground went viral online in early April 2020.
Soon after the incident, Variety spoke with the woman Miller assaulted; she recently confirmed that her comments could be printed for this article. She asked to remain anonymous out of concern for her privacy, as she’s telling her story publicly for the first time.
In the blurry video, Miller is seen confronting the woman — who is smiling and waving her arms as she walks toward them — and asking, “Do you want to fight? Is that what you do?” After Miller grabs her neck, she lets out an audible gasp. The person filming the video stopped to intervene, Variety has confirmed.
According to three sources, the woman had been speaking to Miller at the bar prior to the quarrel. She said she inquired about the actor’s feet — visible in flip-flops — after noticing some wounds, which Miller explained were battle scars from a fight. After discussing how they got them, she began to walk away, but turned around and joked, “But just so you know, I could take you in a fight.” Miller replied, “You really want to fight?” and the woman told them to meet her in the smoking area in two minutes.
Eventually, Miller confronted her outside the bar.
“I think it’s just fun and games — but then it wasn’t,” she said.
It’s a sentiment echoed by another woman, Nadia (she requested that only her first name be used, out of concern for her privacy), who alleges in an interview with Variety that after a warm, two-year friendship with Miller, mostly via text message, the actor came to her Berlin apartment late one evening in February 2022 at her invitation. They hadn’t seen each other since they had a consensual sexual encounter in 2020. But after a friendly interaction, Miller’s mood sharply turned when she told them that they couldn’t smoke inside her home.
“That just set them off,” Nadia said. “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. They were going around my house, looking at everything, touching everything, spreading tobacco leaves on the floor. It felt disgusting and very intrusive.”
After roughly a half-hour of pleading, Nadia said she finally convinced Miller to leave once she called the police. The incident left her deeply disturbed. While she is clear that she never felt at risk of sexual assault that night in her apartment, she believed the actor “could somehow attack me physically.”
“I totally felt unsafe,” she said.
Five people — two friends, a women’s rights advocate, a German social worker, and Nadia’s German lawyer — told Variety that they spoke with Nadia soon after her alleged encounter with Miller and corroborated her account. In April, Nadia filed a criminal complaint about her experience, which Variety has confirmed with the German State Prosecutor’s Office in Berlin. While the prosecutor was investigating a charge of trespassing against Miller, their office says that it has discontinued its proceedings since the actor is no longer in Germany.
Just over a month after her alleged encounter with Miller, Nadia saw news reports that the actor had been arrested half a world away in Hawaii, for disorderly conduct and harassment, after another turbulent incident at a bar. In May, TMZ released body-cam video of Miller’s arrest in Hawaii, in which the actor records much of the encounter for, they say, “NFT crypto art.” In the video, they also say a patron at a bar “declared himself as a Nazi,” and accused a police officer of touching their penis during a search.
Nadia realized she wasn’t alone in her experience with the actor. “It seems to be a pattern,” she said. “They jet-set abuse.”
That alleged pattern has only grown more alarming. After a second arrest in Hawaii in April, this time for second-degree assault after allegedly throwing a chair at a woman and leaving her with a cut on her forehead, the actor additionally has had two protection orders placed against them. The first, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, was by parents of a now-18-year-old from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North and South Dakota, who claim Miller manipulated their daughter when she was between the ages of 12 and 18. The second was by parents of a current 12-year-old in Massachusetts that involves an incident that occurred just days before their alleged confrontation with Nadia in Berlin.
In a story about the latter incident, The Daily Beast reported that Miller allegedly got into an aggressive confrontation with the Greenfield, Mass., family over the mother’s casual reference to “her tribe” and Miller’s claim that the board game Parcheesi appropriates Rastafarian culture. At one point, Miller allegedly revealed a gun and said to a family member, “Talking like that could get you into a really serious situation.”
In June, a Rolling Stone story alleged that Miller has been housing a mother and her three young children at their Vermont farm amid unsafe living conditions, with unsecured guns scattered around the expansive property. (The mother told Rolling Stone that Miller helped her escape an abusive marriage.)
As for Miller’s future as a movie star, it’s unclear whether they will continue to perform as the Scarlet Speedster in future projects, but Warner Bros. is still committed to releasing its $200 million-budgeted tentpole “The Flash” in theaters in June 2023. According to sources with knowledge of the project, the film simply costs too much for the studio to scrap entirely and reshooting with a new actor in Miller’s role is similarly cost-prohibitive, because the actor is in virtually every scene. Also, the film likely can’t generate the revenues needed to turn a profit without a robust theatrical run, so putting the movie directly on HBO Max is also unlikely. All eyes are on Warner Bros., however, as to how it continues to navigate the choppy waters surrounding Miller. The studio already had to downplay the actor’s involvement in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” which opened in theaters in April.
Representatives for Miller had no comment. A source close to the situation tells Variety that Miller hopes to address the allegations at some point, but they have chosen to privately focus on their health and healing over the coming months.
When Miller started showing up at Prikið Kaffihús in Reykjavík, their unusual behavior was at first chalked up to the eccentric whims of a visiting celebrity.
“If they weren’t lighting incense or candles, or even bringing in their own Bluetooth speaker and playing it super loud to overpower our music, there was always something,” Reynir, the bartender at Prikið, said. “We’d approach them and say, ‘Hey, do you mind? There are other people here.’ It was a bit of a chuckle. And then they would go, ‘Yeah, sure,’ and they’d stop, only to continue it a little bit later.”
The day Miller assaulted the woman at Prikið in April 2020, her initial interactions with them felt at first to be in a similarly barbed-yet-easygoing vein. When she told Miller to meet her in the smoking area, she said she meant it as “a joke” — and it appeared that Miller took it as one when they remained inside.
But then a friend of the woman approached Miller and told them that he’d heard the actor didn’t want to fight. “My friend didn’t have to say that,” the woman allowed. “It was just a joke, obviously — but [Miller] took that literally and got super mad and came running outside.” That’s when one of the woman’s friends started recording.
“I think it’s just fun and games — but then it wasn’t,” she said. “All of a sudden, [they’re] on top of me, choking me, still screaming in my face if I want to fight. My friend who’s filming sees [they’re] obviously not joking and it’s actually serious, so he stops filming, and pushes [them] off me as [they’re] still trying to fight me. Two guy friends of mine are actually holding [Miller] back as [they’re] screaming, ‘This is what you wanted! This is what you wanted!’” (At the time of the interview, it was unclear whether the woman was aware Miller identifies as nonbinary.)
The woman said Miller spat in her friend’s face “multiple times” — an affront that was dangerous in the early, pre-vaccine days of the pandemic. (Variety in 2020 confirmed Miller’s actions with her friend, who also wished to remain anonymous.) Eventually, she said, a bartender — Reynir — ran outside to break up the fight.
Reynir had arrived early for his shift that day and had seen the woman in the smoking area with her friends and Miller. When he saw the situation “going way out of hand,” he decided to get involved.
“[Miller] grabs me by the throat as I’m trying to usher them out the [back] door and tells me they’re not leaving,” Reynir said. He added that Miller repeatedly claimed that the woman’s friends had pushed them. “Which they didn’t,” the bartender said.
“They proceeded to spit in my face several times, so with the final push I closed and locked the door,” he added.
Reynir then ran to lock the tavern’s front entrance, where Miller, who had run along the perimeter of the building, was banging on the door and screaming to be let in. Eventually, the actor was ushered into a car by two local friends and driven away. Variety has corroborated Reynir’s account with three other sources, including management at Prikið.
The woman reported the incident to the police — the report was confirmed by Variety — but didn’t press charges. Reynir was allowed to finish work early and took a COVID PCR test the next morning, which came back negative, he said.
“I do believe the incident at the bar was what ruined [Miller’s] reputation thoroughly in Iceland,” Reynir said. “They stopped coming to other bars shortly after.”
Reynir, who left Prikið recently and now works at a Chinese restaurant, was struck by how quickly Miller turned against the local community, leaving a trail of destruction in their path.
“I thought they were great to begin with. We talked about all kinds of spiritual things and went deep into philosophy,” said Reynir. “They had this wonderful mask on as this total sweetheart with a completely open mind, who’s ready to help and talk to anyone. But as soon as someone does something they don’t agree with or doesn’t like, it’s their fault, not [Ezra’s].”
The day the video of Miller choking the woman in Iceland went viral, Nadia saw it on her Twitter feed. She called them immediately.
“Ezra was in Iceland in a car with a friend,” Nadia said. “I could hear the friend or maybe friends, I don’t know, laughing, and Ezra was in a very good mood. Ezra was like, ‘Don’t worry. It’s just a misunderstanding. It’s nothing. Nothing happened.’”
At the time, Nadia had known Miller for just a few months, but she felt she had no reason to doubt them. “In the video, it’s true that the girl is smiling, so I thought, ‘OK, I guess it was taken out of context and they were just playing around,’” she said. “I just let it go.”
Nadia met Miller in January 2020 at an art opening in Los Angeles — she was visiting from Germany — when Miller approached her and a friend outside and struck up a conversation. While she works in the music world, Nadia was unfamiliar with Miller’s career and didn’t recognize them.
“They said they were a performer,” she said. “My friend kept on saying, ‘It’s Ezra Miller!’ And I kept on asking my friend, ‘Who’s Ezra Miller?’”
She liked that Miller was interested in discussing “society” and “spiritual things” rather than talking about the film industry or pop culture. “It was refreshing,” she said. So, as she was leaving the opening, Nadia asked Miller to exchange numbers.
About five minutes into the car ride back to her hotel, Nadia said she started receiving “pretty adult, X-rated” text messages from Miller suggesting the two hook up. “Which, by the way, was totally fine — there was nothing abusive about it. I’m just not into texting like this,” she said. “I told them to stop, and they stopped on the spot.”
The two kept texting, and on Miller’s last night in L.A., they spent the night together. “They were super caring, super nice,” she said. “I had no reason to suspect anything bad was ever going to happen with them.” (Nadia said she could not share the texts with Variety out of concern it would violate German privacy laws.)
Over the next two years, Nadia said she and Miller continued to text each other, but every attempt to meet again in person was thwarted either by their schedules, the pandemic or both. After plans to spend Christmas 2021 together in London were foiled when Nadia’s flight was canceled three times, she began to worry about the strength of her connection with Miller.
“They’d been super nice to me, and I didn’t feel good to not show up and to refuse the invitations,” she said. “I thought maybe I’ve lost a friend because we’ve missed each other so many times.”
So, with the Berlinale approaching in February 2022, she invited Miller to visit her should they be in the city for the annual film festival. The actor had recently wrapped filming on “The Flash,” and “The Secrets of Dumbledore” wasn’t opening for another two months, so they had nothing to promote in Berlin. But one night during the festival, Nadia got a text from the actor at nearly 4 a.m.
“I received a message, like, ‘Hey, I’ve arrived in Berlin, but I might have to go tomorrow,’” she said. Miller hadn’t lined up a hotel, she said, so with the city shut down amid the omicron surge and the weather near freezing outside, she invited Miller to her apartment.
“When they arrived, they were super nice, super polite, asking me if they could come in,” she recalled. “When I said my house is shoes off, they had no problem taking their shoes off.”
They talked. She gave them tea and vegetable soup. Then Miller began to roll a cigarette.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, you need to smoke this outside or on the balcony. There’s no smoking in my house,’” she said.
Miller kept rolling their cigarette. Nadia insisted they smoke outside. Instantly, their demeanor changed.
“And this I’m quoting word for word,” she said. “They started with ‘I’m a maker of planets. Tobacco is sacred.’” Miller continued on a “tirade,” she said, that they could do “whatever they want whenever they want, basically.” When Nadia stood up to insist that guests should honor their host’s house rules, “they looked at me with this really mean, stern face, and told me, ‘Sit down,’ like they were ordering a dog.” Nadia told Miller as much. Their reply, she said, was “Yes, I’m talking to you like a dog.”
“I said, ‘OK, if you talk to me like this, it’s time for you to go,’” she said.
But Miller didn’t. Instead, they escalated, accusing Nadia of being “transphobic” and a “Nazi.”
“I asked them if they remember I told them I’m a descendant of Holocaust survivors, so why would they say that to me?” she said. “They answered, screaming at me, ‘Yes, but how many people of my family died?’ Because many people in their family died. I was like, Oh, OK, this is a game of who’s got the most trauma.”
So, Nadia disengaged. “The only thing I said to them was ‘Leave my house. Go away. Go away. Leave. Can you leave now?’” she said. “Like a broken record.”
Miller persisted, stalking her apartment. “I told them I was calling the police because they were refusing to leave,” she said. “And while I was calling the police, Ezra was calling the police — or pretending to call the police. I don’t know.”
Miller entered Nadia’s bedroom, and when she told them to leave, “they started to shout that they were a rape survivor and I was triggering them,” she said. “They started to say I had assaulted them. I had beat them up. I had hurt them.”
Finally, Nadia was able to block Miller near the entrance to her apartment with her body, and said out loud that she was surprised the police hadn’t arrived yet. Miller finally gathered their things and left. Nadia called the police to tell them not to bother coming, put her cellphone and door buzzer on silent and set about cleaning up her apartment.
“I thought it was over, but it was not,” she said.
About 30 minutes later, at nearly 6 a.m., Nadia heard a loud banging noise at the front door of her apartment building. When she looked outside, she could see Miller at the door seemingly attempting to break it down, and said they were screaming that Nadia had stolen their passport and money. She then discovered Miller had left behind a second jacket in her apartment, which did contain Miller’s passport and credit card. She threw down the jacket to Miller from her balcony and went back inside. At that point Nadia realized Miller had texted her just minutes earlier, but she said she didn’t see the texts until days later, when she reviewed them with a social worker. (The social worker confirmed seeing the texts with Nadia to Variety.)
It was an alarming exclamation point on what had already been a frightening experience. “I did not feel safe,” Nadia said.
All five sources who corroborated Nadia’s account with Variety said they spoke with her very soon after — in one case, the day after — her alleged encounter with Miller. Only Nadia’s lawyer could recall Nadia telling him that Miller had declared that they were a “maker of planets” and that “tobacco is sacred.” All the sources were deeply troubled by what Nadia related to them about her alleged experience.
“I was worried,” said one of Nadia’s friends. “I think she was misled — she had a memory of them from when they had time in L.A., and what she got [in Berlin] was really different. It sounded dangerous.”
Nadia said she has not seen Miller since that night, and she blocked their number on her phone. But she was deeply shaken. “One of the reasons I did not feel safe is after they left, I Googled Ezra to see maybe something is going on with them,” she said. “And I saw a report in the press that they made some sort of death threats to KKK members via Instagram.”
On Jan. 27, the actor posted a message on video “for the Beulaville chapter of the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan.”
“Look, if y’all want to die, I suggest just killing yourselves with your own guns, okay?” Miller continued in the video. (The actor has since deactivated that Instagram account.) “Otherwise, keep doing exactly what you’re doing right now — and you know what I am talking about — and then, you know, we’ll do it for you if that’s really what you want.”
Miller had repeatedly called Nadia a Nazi in her own home. They knew where she lived and had tried to break down her apartment building door. What was to stop them from posting about her?
“And then I have fans at my door wanting to beat me up,” she said.
After speaking with the social worker about her options, Nadia realized that a way to defend against any reprisal from Miller was to share her experience with a journalist. She reached out to a women’s rights advocate while seeking guidance on how to proceed; that source, who also corroborated Nadia’s account, put her in touch with Variety.
For the Icelandic bartender Reynir, the international attention following Miller’s behavior in 2020 rocked his city, which despite being accustomed to Hollywood actors coming through town as part of Iceland’s booming production scene, is less familiar with the global appeal of celebrity drama. The incident, Reynir said, brought him close to the others involved, but “thanks to an Icelandic upbringing, we’re rather quick at letting things like this go.”
Prikið saw Miller just once more after the incident with the woman. Both Reynir and his former manager said the actor came to the bar with the gift of a stuffed toy elephant, intended as a peace offering and still kicking around “somewhere” in the bar. They haven’t seen Miller since.
Two years later, however, following the new string of headlines about Miller, the actor is once again a topic of conversation in Reykjavík.
“To this day, if I see Ezra Miller, I’ll look the other way and keep walking, but I still wish them the best. I don’t want this to be their life,” Reynir said. “I want them to stop going through the celebrity craziness that they’re going through and be happy. Even though they did all this shit to me and my friends, they’re still a person that deserves good things, but not if they continue acting the way that they have. You get what you give.”
Nadia is less forgiving of Miller’s behavior, but also a bit less concerned about any reprisal from the actor since they’re facing so many other allegations and legal battles. “They’re probably not thinking about me anymore because I’m just one of many people they abused,” she said.