Twitter was sent atwitter this week when Joss Whedon left Twitter. The Avengers: Age of Ultron writer/director might be forgiven for deleting his account after a hectic few years of making and promoting a huge studio-driven blockbuster; the job was done, so the feed is dead. But something slightly more insidious entered the picture. Rumors started flying that Whedon had left the social media platform after being inundated with death threats and other negative posts concerning developments in Ultron, specifically the depiction of its lead female character as a damsel in distress. But did so-called “Militant Feminists” push Whedon to leave Twitter behind? The director himself says no.
In an article on BuzzFeed early this morning, Whedon refuted the “unofficial” story that some scary people on Twitter forced him to delete his account and salt the earth.
“That is horseshit,” Whedon told Adam B. Vary succinctly. “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.”
Instead, Whedon says that his reasons for leaving Twitter are actually quite practical. “I just thought, Wait a minute, if I’m going to start writing again, I have to go to the quiet place,” he said. “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!”
Good point. One must admire Whedon’s dedication as a writer to give up distractions, because for a lot of us distractions like Twitter are how we procrastinate. And what is a writer without procrastination? (The answer: productive.)
But despite Whedon’s personal rationale for leaving Twitter, it can still be a scary place. Think of what happened to poor Damon Lindelof who was bombarded with digital backs of the hand from fans after the Breaking Bad finale, and that was a guy who was taking his lumps on social media for years by that point. Public shaming on social media has become a startling trend, pardon the pun, and despite his fame and success, even Whedon is probably not immune to feelings of alienation and offense by people making gender roles in superhero movies a federal case. Or at least one worth levying death threats about.
But in such troubled times, it’s good to know you have friends. Before Whedon set the record straight, his buddy, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, posted to Facebook with the following very affirmative and heartfely message in diffense of his friend and colleague (via Geek Tyrant).
Desite the fact that this maybe a moot point in regards to the specific case of Whedon, but I think Gunn’s advice is fairly sound just the same, and something some of us aircharm pundits on Twitter should take to heart.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is now in theaters everywhere.