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Joss Whedon is the last person you want on set: All the receipts

You know how every year people proclaim, “this year I’m getting rid of everything negative and toxic in my life and I’m going to make this a good year”? Well, 2020 has admittedly been a terrible year for pretty much everyone on the planet – however, to combat the terrible it seems people decided to actually follow through on their anti-toxicity resolutions.

All year long, people have been coming forward and speaking out against various Hollywood celebrities and their horrible and sometimes illegal behaviors. Today’s celebrity we’re canceling is director Joss Whedon.

What he’s known for

Joss Whedon has been a big name writer & director for decades now. He’s worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, multiple Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Firefly, the officially released Justice League movie, Roseanne, and many other popular works.

In the 1990s Whedon was praised for being a feminist and showing it in his work – Buffy was usually the first thing people would point to when saying this. A badass girl lead whose character came from a long line of “chosen” women. For the 90s it was great.

However, Whedon has on many occasions been accused of not updating his views as time has worn on, and not only are his more modern works sometimes problematic, but people – including those who know him personally – have been saying for years he’s a pretty bad person. Here’s a number of the things people have said about him.

Ray Fisher on Twitter

The most recent accusations of Joss Whedon being less-than-stellar come from Ray Fisher on Twitter, and his actions seem to have finally made people who were previously burying their heads in the sand about Whedon, finally listen.

Fisher played Victor Stone, also known as Cyborg, in the latest Justice League movie, and today (July first) he went to twitter to say this, “Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable. He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Accountability>Entertainment”.

On June 29th, Fisher posted a tweet saying he’d like to “forcefully retract every bit” of a statement he made at a San Diego Comic Con panel where he half heartedly says Whedon is a great guy. Meanwhile Jason Mamoa stares into the middle distance as if it’s hard to listen to.

Charisma Carpenter

Angel, the spin-off show to Buffy the Vampire Slayer had two of the original Buffy characters, Angel (David Boreanaz) the title character, and Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter). Cordelia was the stereotypical mean girl in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but became a beloved character in Angel.

However, when Carpenter became pregnant during the series, it has been said by many sources that Whedon became upset with having to change how the season would go and she was eventually fired. The character, Cordelia, was forced to go down a path of evil, which upset fans, and he ultimately put the character on ice by putting her in a coma.

When Carpenter was asked to make an appearance in a later season many have said she was hesitant to do so, but eventually agreed – only to have her character officially killed off.

Kai Cole’s open letter

Joss Whedon’s ex-wife Kai Cole wrote an open letter for The Wrap in 2017 detailing why Whedon is a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals”. Cole was married to Whedon for sixteen years. One of the most telling quotes from the article isn’t from Cole herself, but from something Whedon wrote in a letter to his ex-wife:

“When I was running ‘Buffy,’ I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women. It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth. Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet and I can’t touch it.”

She says, however, Joss Whedon “did touch it”, he cheated on her multiple times throughout their marriage with fans, actresses, other co-workers, and even friends. Kai Cole goes on to describe how difficult for her even after separating from him because of how the world has been taught to view her ex-husband.

“It has not been easy, because even though in my personal life I have been completely open about what happened, publicly people only know his superficial presentation of us: him as the lovable geek-feminist and me in the background, as his wife and supporter.”

Using rape in his stories

We could write an entire separate article on the problematic things Joss Whedon has written into his various works, but for now we’re just going to talk about a disturbing recurring theme Whedon has used in his writing. On more than one occasion he wrote scenes where rape against women is used as a lesson for men.

The first happened in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in one of the later seasons the show’s narrative takes a dark turn when Buffy is nearly raped by Spike in a bathroom, a vampire who she had a very slow burning enemies-to-lovers arc with – which is questionable in its nature on its own.

Even James Marsters, the actor who plays Spike, has spoke out about how problematic the scene is saying, “I’m not really sure it expressed what the author was intending and on that score it was not successful. I think it was a big risk for everybody”. Ultimately the bathroom scene leads Spike on a journey to find his soul again, because apparently he “learned something”.

Whedon also had plans to have Inara be gang raped in an episode of Firefly, that is, before it was canceled. He had intended for her experience to somehow teach the main character, Mal, played by Nathan Fillion, to learn not to slut shame Inara.

It’s hard to hear accusations like these when you follow someone’s work. Trust us, we aren’t going to stop watching the original Toy Story just because he helped write it. However, this doesn’t mean Whedon needs to be praised as a good person just because he’s worked on some of popular culture’s favorite shows and movies.

In fact, it doesn’t mean he needs to be given any more projects either. Allow his thirty plus years of work to remain as they are so we can look back on the history of pop culture media, but maybe we just cancel the man. He’s earned more than enough money from his various successes – if he never worked another day in his life he’d be just fine.

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Comments
  • You ruin your own argument with the final sentiment of cancel the man.

    I agree that Whedon’s treatment of Charisma Carpenter was shameful, and I have always disliked the Spike/Buffy romance for undermining Buffy’s status as a hero.

    Still you can’t blacklist someone because you don’t like them personally. By all means if what the Cyborg actor says is true, call him out and let it be known that he is difficult so he changes his ways.

    However you cannot bring blacklisting back. It’s hilarious that someone who I’d imagine identifies on the left is for basically 21st century McCarthyism? I don’t care what Whedon gets up to in his personal life as long as it’s not illegal and neither should you.

    July 3, 2020
    • Hollywood never stopped blacklisting people. Look at what they did to Orson Wells. It’s run by a cartel of power hungry egoists, not communists. They were never true believers of anything, not even communism.
      Hollywood is all liars. that’s their job. When actors speak they lie.
      Harvey Weinstein is what Hollywood is about.
      Steven Speilberg initially wanted Indiana Jones to rape Marion when she was 12. That was her backstory. That’s why she says “I was a child!” Indiana Jones is a actual pedo.
      Remember Roman Polanski? He raped a 13 yr old who, according to her court testimony, begged him to stop sodomizing her. (It’s public record) People still funded his films. But poor Orson Wells was ostracized. I wonder why.

      October 22, 2020
  • What a load of crap, everyone else that worked with him has praised him including scar JO who credited him with being awesome in helping her character be strong and lead. He is praised by everyone except someone who lost something because of his writing.

    September 9, 2020
    • The dude needs to go therapy and change his ways

      October 11, 2020
    • Just like Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski. Fact is actors are paid to lie convincingly and the ones that do have moral compasses are quickly blacklisted.

      January 4, 2021
  • Joss Whedon’s work reveals what a creep he is.

    I used to LOVE Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Sometimes, the comedic & campy + questionable acting skills thing works for me. I first saw it when I was younger. Thought I’d do a nostalgic rerun of the entire series to bring a little fun into today’s dystopian pandemic era – and oh my god. The countless major and minor plot points and “frills” woven into this show, which shamelessly flirts with and outright f**** the delights out of, pedophilic fantasy! All while grooming the public into sleepy submission, via normalizing it. It’s disgusting. So gross. And the insidious nature of it, which as an adult who’s seen and experienced too much in this world – is obvious to me, now; but as a teen I was so naive. There were a couple things which made me go, wait…but then, having no reference point to know better, I washed right over it or just forgot about it, being successfully distracted by the entertainment value; but so much of it went right over my head, at the time.

    The fact that people like Whedon – and there are too many like him…resting in their prestige, wealth, and/or power – can run around getting away with jerking off right in front of us all like that, so to speak. It’s extremely disturbing, disgusting, and enraging. And that we let them get away with this sh** – is equally disturbing, disgusting, and enraging to me. Anyone who is justifying or excusing this – can miss me with their bullsh** explanations. I get how betrayed you might feel – or frustrated at the ruining of what had been a good thing before you were rudely awakened. I get how you might get uncomfortable realizing that you were unwittingly complicit in it (but you didn’t know, so – you didn’t know). And if you merely defend him out of blind, brainless loyalty – then f*** you. If you defend him because you’re the sort to apologize for criminals (and would date or marry them too, I bet) – then, f*** you. If you defend him because you are like him – then f*** you. And I don’t mean in a way you would like. Because this piece of trash, and all the past and potential he ruined with his trash – is guilty. Period.

    February 21, 2021
  • In my anger, I forgot to mention his obvious disrespect and mistreatment of females, on screen in Buffy, as well. Exploitation at it’s finest. And we’re not talking “artistic differences”, here. Rewatching this, I felt like I was watching something I shouldn’t have been watching – peeping in on the fantasies of a dirty mind; fantasies deliberatly couched in fun and funny, goofy antics which distracted me less and less successfully, the more of the series I watched. I can understand how a young or simple-minded person might not catch it, or not fully; but what the hell were all the adults thinking, who watched this crap circulate and stay active in the public eye, without saying anything. At least I never caught wind of any resistance or complaint. The f***…?

    February 21, 2021

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