HitFix

Jeremy Renner called Black Widow a slut and Chris Evans agreed

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” reviews and interviews are popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm. And as ever with major press tours, there”s bound to be drama. Everyone thought it had reared its head yesterday when Robert Downey Jr. walked out of an interview after a reporter took a sharp right turn into asking questions about his past drug usage.

But while that exchanged captured the attention of fans and news outlets alike, another soundbite was bubbling up, ready to explode.

During a video interview with Digital Spy, Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans were asked about the tendency of Avengers” fandom to ship (wish) Black Widow was romantically involved with either Hawkeye or Captain America, and how do the actors feel now that it appears she”s hooking up with Bruce Banner.

Their response? To call Black Widow a slut and a whore, albeit in jest. The bit is the first question asked below:

As BuzzFeed has pointed out, the fandom is split down the middle. On the one side you have people who are put off balance by Renner and Evans” casual use of gendered slurs. On the other side are the people who say they were just joking.

It”s both. It”s a joke AND it”s appalling that Renner and Evans would make it. “Slut” and “whore” are words that have been around since time immemorial to use as a blunt-force weapon to keep women in their place. Enjoying sex and having agency over how many partners you have was a luxury afforded only to men. In women, it was something dangerous and dirty to be stamped out.

The fan backlash has been so vehement that both actors issued apologies via Entertainment Weekly. Evans owned up to his mistake and regrets his decision. Renner, on the other hand, is opting for the “sorry you”re offended” non-apology approach:

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