Joss Whedon is not the ally generations of “Buffy” and “Firefly” fans think he is. We’ve known this for some time. In the last handful of years alone there have been numerous accounts and reports about just how bad he is. Starting with rumors of inappropriate behavior around young actresses on set, and sort of publicly compounding with an op-ed by Kai Cole, Whedon’s ex wife.
Things sort of got worse for the “Avengers” director from there, with “Justice League” stars Gal Gadot and Ray Fisher taking the accusations further. Gadot went on record saying Whedon had threatened her and her career during filming. Fisher accused Whedon of outright racism, among other things, prompting a large-scale investigation by Warner Bros. Pictures into several higher-ups at the entertainment giant. The investigation is still ongoing, almost 2 full years later.
Then the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” cast broke their silence. Led by Charisma Carpenter who played Cordeilla, a very different picture of Whedon was painted for the public. She accuses Whedon of abusing his power, citing disturbing incidents without going into too much detail. Eliza Dushku, who worked with Whedon on both “Buffy” and “Dollhouse” voiced her support of Carpenter. Most of the cast has done the same.
Shortly after that, Michelle Trachtenberg revealed that during her time on “Buffy,” Whedon was not allowed to be alone in a room with her. The actress was 15 when she first starting played Dawn, sister of Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar).
It is with these things in mind that a recent interview Whedon granted New York Magazine (via Vulture) is so surprising.
He starts the interview by telling the reporter “I’m terrified of every word that comes out of my mouth.” After reading the majority of the interview, we can’t say we blame him.
The director blames Gadot for any misunderstandings that happened on “Justice League.”
“I don’t threaten people. Who does that? English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech.” Whedon said he told Gadot that she would have to tie his body to a railroad track before he would cut a scene she wanted removed, and that Gadot misunderstood as Whedon threatening to tie her to a track instead.
Gadot’s response? “I understood perfectly.”
As to the numerous allegations of misconduct, he doesn’t deny them. He sort of tries, in his Joss Whedon way, to make jokes and sidestep them. It’s a jarring read, at the very least. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to give this man, who we know is good with a pen, a chance to defend himself?
All in all, the piece makes Whedon look far worse. He admits to a lot, and he even tries to justify his numerous affairs and gross misuse of power by blaming the actresses. “I was powerless,” “I had to sleep with them.”
Can we all agree to stop idealizing men like this? Men who use performative ‘feminism’ in their works (which were actually mostly written and produced by women), who hide behind old successful projects rather than walk the walk? Yes, we know he wrote and directed “Avengers.” But he also wrote and directed “Age of Ultron.”
UPDATE- Ray Fisher coming in with the perfect dig.