Joss Whedon just called “horsesh*t” (his exact words) on the rumors that feminists drove him off Twitter. I haven’t been covering those rumors myself because my bullsh*t klaxon sounds anytime someone tries to blame a disenfranchised group for anything, especially if they’re lobbing the blame on the behalf of somebody who never blamed that group in the first place. The rumors led to some good things, at least, with some (like James Gunn) calling for a kinder internet in general.
Whedon himself opened up about his reason for leaving social media in a long, fascinating article with Buzzfeed. Guess what? He wasn’t driven off the internet by Big Feminist. He told Buzzfeed, when they asked him about the harassment rumors, “That is horsesh*t. 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.”
And just to punctuate how off base some of the rumors were, he added, “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].”
His real reason for leaving social media was a practical, career-focused one: “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.”
Now that Whedon is done with Marvel, he has to start working on whatever comes next. And yes, writing is difficult when Twitter is beckoning you with constant, glittering distractions.
That’s not to say any criticisms or trolling Whedon faced online didn’t get under his skin: “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.”
The full interview is a great read, and you can check it out here.