Yesterday Joss Whedon shut down his Twitter account, and there was a lot of rumor and speculation that suggest the reason he left was due to death threats, harassment, and outspoken feminists who didn’t like the portrayal of Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron. James Gunn came to Whedon’s defense about these things, but it turns out none of these things are true. In fact Whedon calls it all “Horseshit.”
The director did an interview with BuzzFeed, and in regards to the rumor involving militant feminists he said:
“That is horseshit. 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.
“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. 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].”
He went on to explain that the real reason he left Twitter was so that he could take a break and focus on his work.:
“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!
“The real issue is me. Twitter is an addictive little thing, and if it’s there, I gotta check it. When you keep doing something after it stops giving you pleasure, that’s kind of rock bottom for an addict. … I just had a little moment of clarity where I’m like, You know what? If I want to get stuff done, I need to not constantly hit this thing for a news item or a joke or some praise, and then be suddenly sad when there’s hate and then hate and then hate.”
Whedon went on to talk about the importance of of people like himself changing people’s minds through actions and not tweets.
“For someone like Anita Sarkeesian to stay on Twitter and fight back the trolls is a huge statement. It’s a statement of strength and empowerment and perseverance, and it’s to be lauded. For somebody like me to argue with a bunch of people who wanted Clint and Natasha to get together, not so much. For someone like me even to argue about feminism — it’s not a huge win. Because ultimately I’m just a rich, straight, white guy. You don’t really change people’s minds through a tweet. You change it through your actions.”
So there you have it. I big fuss about nothing. It’s a little less dramatic than people made it out to be. The guy just needs to take a breather right now after as huge of an undertaking as Age of Ultron was and get in the zone for his next project. Whedon said he would consider coming back to Twitter at some point, but that’s not a guarantee. This final quote makes it seem like he’s ready to live life outside of Twitter:
“I think the articles that I found, I can find elsewhere. I’ll miss some jokes. Maybe I’ll have to go out to a club to see jokes! I think that’s already an improvement in my life. … I need to go out, do the research, turn the page, see the thing, hear the music, live like a person. I’m not great at that. So, oddly enough, because I always feel like I’m the old man who doesn’t get the tech, right now I’m the man who thinks he could do better without it.”
You can read the full interview here.