Zack Snyder thought the joke about his movie Justice League in Greta Gerwig's Barbie was "pretty good".
During the Barbie movie, the joke appears after Ryan Gosling's Ken brings the patriarchy to Barbieland.
After being woken up from a hypnotic state, Alexandra Shipp's Writer Barbie describes her time being under the patriarchy as: "I've been in a dream where I was really invested in the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League."
In an interview with Men's Health, Snyder admitted Warner Bros. CEO Michael De Luca gave him and his wife and producing partner, Deborah Snyder, a heads-up about the quip.
"He said, 'Hey, there's a reference to Justice League in the movie. It's cool and whatever, I hope you guys understand, we think it's awesome,'" the director recalled.
Responding to the jibe for the first time, he said, "I thought (Barbie) was great and I think the joke is pretty good," but noted that the joke was more about the Justice League fandom than him.
After Snyder suffered a family tragedy, he stepped down from 2017's Justice League and post-production was taken over by Joss Whedon, who changed many aspects of the movie. Fans successfully campaigned for Warner Bros. to release the Snyder Cut of Justice League in 2021.
The 57-year-old also admitted that the joke in Barbie made him realise that his fandom had become "a thing".
"The thing that I said to Debbie is - the thing that you need to take a second and think about is that your name is so seamlessly sewed together with a pop-culture phenomenon so big it can exist as a joke in a movie about Barbie," he explained. "That's pretty insane. You just need to step back for a second and go like, 'Whoa, what did we do? What happened? How is that a thing?'"
His wife told the publication that the toxic fandom is a small subset of an otherwise supportive community.