Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wants everyone to know that he’s not coming back to ‘Fast and Furious’ and that he sees right through Vin Diesel’s manipulation.
In an interview with CNN published Wednesday, Johnson, 49, addressed an Instagram post made by Diesel in November — in which the 54-year-old actor publicly asked Johnson to rejoin the beloved movie franchise — calling Diesel’s move “an example of his manipulation.”
“I was very surprised by Vin’s recent post,” said Johnson. “This past June, when Vin and I actually connected not over social media, I told him directly — and privately — that I would not be returning to the franchise. I was firm yet cordial with my words and said that I would always be supportive of the cast and always root for the franchise to be successful, but that there was no chance I would return. I privately spoke with my partners at Universal as well, all of whom were very supportive as they understand the problem.”
“I didn’t like that he brought up his children in the post, as well as Paul Walker’s death. Leave them out of it,” Johnson continued. “We had spoken months ago about this and came to a clear understanding. My goal all along was to end my amazing journey with this incredible Fast & Furious franchise with gratitude and grace.”
“It’s unfortunate that this public dialogue has muddied the waters. Regardless, I’m confident in the Fast universe and its ability to consistently deliver for the audience, and I truly wish my former costars and crew members the best of luck and success in the next chapter,” Johnson added.
In the Instagram post that the Jungle Cruise star is referring to, Diesel wrote in part, “My little brother Dwayne… the time has come. The world awaits the finale of Fast 10. As you know, my children refer to you as Uncle Dwayne in my house. There is not a holiday that goes by that they and you don’t send well wishes… but the time has come.”
A representative for Diesel has not commented to PEOPLE.
Johnson and Diesel’s feud first came to light in 2016 as they filmed the eighth installment of the long-running franchise, The Fate of the Furious. “Tension has been building up for months,” a source close to the production told PEOPLE at the time.
Johnson had also penned a since-deleted Instagram post at the time, calling out his unnamed male costars.
“There’s no other franchise that gets my blood boiling more than this one. My female costars are always amazing and I love ’em. My male costars, however, are a different story,” he wrote, adding, “Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t.”
In an interview with Men’s Health in July, Diesel claimed that he used “tough love” on set when it came to Johnson portraying his Fast & Furiouscharacter, federal agent Luke Hobbs.
“I could give a lot of tough love. Not Felliniesque, but I would do anything I’d have to do in order to get performances in anything I’m producing,” he told the magazine.
Speaking with Vanity Fair for the magazine’s November cover, Johnson touched on Diesel’s “tough love” comments, telling the outlet, “One part of me feels like there’s no way I would dignify any of that bull—- with an answer.”
“I’ve been around the block a lot of times. Unlike [Diesel], I did not come from the world of theater,” he added. “And, you know, I came up differently and was raised differently.”
We’re glad Dwayne’s calling it out — because the whole thing felt manipulative to us too.