Joss Whedon, a writer and director known for creating strong female characters, has come under considerable backlash from internet feminists regarding his film Avengers: Age of Ultron. Amid all of the controversy, Whedon quit Twitter without giving any reasons for his doing so.
In typical internet fashion, everyone quickly assumed that Whedon was running from the aggressive feminists that were harassing him on Twitter. Whedon has since disputed that idea in an interview with Buzzfeed.
“That is horseshit,” he said. “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.”
In an attempt to link this instance to the GamerGate scandal, many also said that Feminist Frequency had attacked the Avengers director, which he also was quick to deny.
“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 continued. “I saw someone tweet it’s because Feminist Frequency pissed on Avengers 2, which for all I know they may have. But literally the second person to write me to ask if I was OK when I dropped out was [Feminist Frequency founder] Anita [Sarkeesian].”
Whedon explained that he quit Twitter because now that Age of Ultron is finished and in theaters, he wants to return to writing and needs a quiet space to do so—one without the constant interruptions of tweets. He even likened trying to write while attached to Twitter to “trying to pass the bar at Coachella”.
The director has never been particularly fond of the social media platform, telling Entertainment Weekly back in 2013 that the only reason he joined at all was to drum up interest in his Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing.
Fellow superhero movie director James Gunn was quick to defend Whedon when accusations were flying, calling for fans to take responsibility for their words. He wrote a lengthy post on Facebook linked a massive list of the hateful messages Whedon received.
”...I know there are real issues at play here. But, again, I don’t think the way to affect change is through rage. That is just going to increase whatever divide you’re experiencing in the first place.” Gunn said. “I believe that there are a handful of truly evil, awful human beings out there. But the majority of us on all sides of an issue think we’re doing the right thing and are doing the best we can. If we assume that of each other, it makes life a lot easier.”