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When Joss Whedon deactivated his Twitter account earlier this week, many people assumed he’d quit as a result of criticism—or even threats—from feminists who objected to certain aspects of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
While there was no proof of this theory, the narrative spread quickly thanks to prominent Twitter users like Patton Oswalt and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, both of whom leaped to Whedon’s defense.
Most of you are aware of this, but anyone who urges a filmmaker to kill himself over a movie plot point needs to seriously examine his life.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) May 5, 2015
But a new interview with BuzzFeed makes it crystal-clear that Oswalt and Gunn were wrong. Feminist critics weren’t the reason for Whedon’s departure.
“That is horseshit,” Whedon told BuzzFeed, referring to the rumor that he was chased off Twitter by feminist Avengers fans. “Believe me, I have been attacked by militant feminists since I got on Twitter. That’s something I’m used to.”
“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.”
Whedon explained that while he does receive a certain amount of unpleasant messages on social media (which is, unfortunately, par for the course for public figures), he never took the comments seriously. He said that unlike the personal threats received by women like Anita Sarkeesian, none of the angry tweets he received made him think he was in any danger.
“It was like, OK, these guys don’t understand about hyperbole,” he said.
The real reason Whedon quit Twitter, he said, is because he wanted peace and quiet to concentrate on his life and working on new projects.
Throughout the publicity tour for Age of Ultron, Whedon made no secret of how exhausted he became while filming and promoting the movie. Twitter’s constant barrage of hateful messages, fan compliments, and jokes was evidently just too distracting. For Whedon, deactivating his account made it easier for him to “live like a person.”
Photo via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor