Despite earlier reports this week, director Joss Whedon has said that it wasn’t the Avengers: Age of Ultron backlash that forced him of twitter.
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn spoke out on Facebook about the abuse Whedon was getting over the movie, saying: “The angry contingent of fandom is getting more aggressive all the time, and it’s difficult to block out as a person in the public eye. Imagine being a guy, like Joss Whedon, who has committed his life to fandom and to creating the best characters he possibly can, characters he loves, and has spent two years of his life working on a movie, and then has to wake up to this s@#t on Twitter.”
But Whedon insists it wasn’t the angry mob that pushed him out.
Now, let’s take a second and put this into context – here’s a link to the abuse Whedon has been getting (it’s very NSFW so be warned) – in Avengers: Age of Ultron SPOILERS Black Widow and Bruce Banner have a romantic relationship, or at least a heavily hinted at one. In one scene Widow says she was sterilised when she was trained to be a killer and it made her a “monster”. Then, later in the movie, Widow is captured by Ultron and needs to be rescued by Banner. All these points got the feminist community, well some of them, up in arms. All this despite the fact that Whedon has created some of sci-fi/fantasy’s strongest female characters – see Buffy, Firefly and Dollhouse. It also annoyed many that Tony Stark “made a rape joke” while trying to lift Thor’s hammer. Oh, and they wanted him dead for saying he’s not the biggest fan of Agents of SHIELD. Sigh. And so the abuse started on Twitter and shortly thereafter Whedon quit the social platform. SPOILERS END
But Whedon tells a very different story, indeed: “I saw a lot of people say, ‘Well, the social justice warriors destroyed one of their own!’ It’s like, Nope. That didn’t happen,” he says.
“Believe me, I have been attacked by militant feminists since I got on Twitter. That’s something I’m used to. Every breed of feminism is attacking every other breed, and every subsection of liberalism is always busy attacking another subsection of liberalism, because God forbid they should all band together and actually fight for the cause,” Whedon said.
Whedon says it was nothing so dramatic but rather a desire to find his focus again: “I just thought, Wait a minute, if I’m going to start writing again, I have to go to the quiet place and this is the least quiet place I’ve ever been in my life. … It’s like taking the bar exam at Coachella. It’s like, Um, I really need to concentrate on this! Guys! Can you all just … I have to … It’s super important for my law!”
Remember Whedon’s comments about Twitter in 2013? Well, he said: “The moment I joined, oh my God, what a responsibility. This is enormous work – very fun, but it really started to take up a huge amount of my head space,” Whedon said at the time. “I’m making a movie, I got a responsibility, this job doesn’t pay very well. It’s a fascinating medium, it’s a fascinating social phenomenon. People are like, ‘It’s like a drug.’ Yeah, and it’s like a job. It’s just another art form. Until I have a script I truly believe in or a tweet that’s really remarkable, I can just walk away and get back to the storytelling I need to do.”
So, what do you all think? Did the abuse serve as a catalyst? Or is Whedon genuinely that thick-skinned and just wanting to concentrate? We’ll probably never know but it does show one thing, the internet gives everyone a voice but it’s not necessarily a good thing.
For the full interview with Whedon, head to BuzzFeed.