Weird it may be, but writer/director Joss Whedon quitting Twitter shortly after Avengers: Age of Ultron opened in theaters worldwide has suddenly become a story that it seems everyone’s talking about.
The move made sense, as we explained earlier this week: Whedon has made it crystal clear in recent weeks that he needs a break and has been looking forward to some distraction-free writing time once he’s done promoting the Avengers sequel. Abuse from people who were upset about Age of Ultron (for one reason or another) no doubt encouraged him to exit Twitter sooner than later, and properly clear his head.
However, because the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) storyline is one of the more widely-criticized elements in Age of Ultron, it didn’t take long for a lot of people online to decide that the real reason Whedon is taking a leave of absence from social media is because of angry feminists attacking him by way of Twitter. Well, Joss has broken his “silence” and spoken to BuzzFeed News (by phone) on the matter – and he didn’t mince words, when asked if “militant feminists” were what drove him from Twitter.
“That is horses**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.
“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. 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].”
Whedon added that for people like Sarkeesian – whose experience being continuously harassed and abused on Twitter (in addition to receiving multiple death threats in the real world) is well-documented – to remain on Twitter despite the attacks on them is “a statement of strength and empowerment and perseverance, and it’s to be lauded.”
Natasha Romanoff’s storyline – and her relationship with Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) – in Age of Ultron has been praised and criticized by fans. Likewise, writer critiques have been negative (“The Avengers’ Black Widow Problem”) as well as positive (“The Strong Feminism Behind Black Widow…”), in their assessment of that aspect of Whedon’s movie. Overall, these criticisms have been reflective of the general attitudes towards Age of Ultron, as a whole; some love it, some hate it, and others feel that it’s solid, but needed more breathing room – and the additional development that it (may’ve) received in Whedon’s extended version of the film.
Ultimately, though, when it comes to the Twitter user feedback Whedon was receiving about Age of Ultron (be it Black Widow-related or related to other aspects of the movie), the filmmaker says it wasn’t helping him – be it supportive or not in nature.
“So many people have said mean things, but so many people have said wonderful things. But how much approbation do I need before I become creepy? I so appreciate when people took the time to say something nice. But for my own self, it’s like, at some point, you’re just like a little compliment leech. That’s not going to help your writing any more than people slamming on you.”
Beyond that, Whedon has admitted the “real issue” for him was that Twitter has just become a distraction for him – one that he was struggling mightily to ignore, at that.
“The real issue is me. Twitter is an addictive little thing, and if it’s there, I gotta check it. When you keep doing something after it stops giving you pleasure, that’s kind of rock bottom for an addict. … 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.”
So, will Whedon be back to interact with fans on Twitter again one day? He admitted that right now he feels like “the man who thinks he could better without it,” but at the same time stopped short of issuing an ultimatum on the subject.
In the meantime, we have no doubt that debates about Age of Ultron (and discussions about other issues that’ve sprung from those debates) will carry on – all while Whedon takes a much-needed holiday from the strange world that is social media.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is now playing in theaters.
Source: BuzzFeed News
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