Joss Whedon Denies Allegations Against Him, Claims He's 'One of the Nicer Showrunners That's Ever Been'
Joss Whedon has broken his silence months after allegations of bullying and abusive behavior were leveled against him by numerous actors and co-workers on past projects.
The filmmaker and showrunner spoke with New York Magazine for an extensive interview and profile, and Whedon used the opportunity to almost categorically deny all the claims made against him.
In the interview, Whedon reflected on his work finishing Justice League, when the original director, Zack Snyder, had to step away from production mid-shoot. Whedon said, "They asked me to fix it, and I thought I could help."
However, Whedon went on to express that it has become one of the biggest regrets of his life.
Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in the DC superhero blockbuster, publicly accused Whedon of behavior he described as “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable,” back in July 2020.
He also suggested that his role in the film was eventually scaled back because of his conflict with Whedon.
Whedon denied that he behaved inappropriately, and went further on the offensive, calling Fisher's acting and personality into question. He said Cyborg's storyline in the film, as it originally was planned, "logically made no sense," and said that Fisher had some sort of agenda against him personally.
"We’re talking about a malevolent force," Whedon claimed. "We’re talking about a bad actor in both senses."
Whedon also addressed a conspiracy theory first spread by some of his outspoken online defenders, claiming that the accusations that had been leveled against him were part of an intentional attack on his character with the purpose of increasing support for Snyder, and the eventual release of Snyder's director's cut.
While Whedon did not claim that Snyder himself was behind the alleged campaign -- as some have suggested in various conspiracy theories -- he did tell New York Magazine, “I don’t know who started it, I just know in whose name it was done."
Whedon also pointed blame at ex-wife Kai Cole for the backlash against him in recent years. Cole released an op-ed in 2017 accusing Whedon of being a "hypocrite preaching feminist ideals" and claimed he had cheated on her numerous times throughout their marriage.
While Whedon admitted to numerous instances of infidelity, he claimed Cole's letter was the start of people making false claims in an attempt to hurt his reputation.
"They don’t give a f**k about feminism. I was made a target by my ex-wife, and people exploited that cynically," Whedon claimed. "She put out a letter saying some bad things I’d done and saying some untrue things about me, but I had done the bad things and so people knew I was gettable."
Whedon continued to paint the picture that it was an internet mob out to get him, sharing in the interview, "The beginning of the internet raised me up, and the modern internet pulled me down. The perfect symmetry is not lost on me."
The plethora of accusations against Whedon came from numerous actors and actresses he'd directed in the past. Notably, Gal Gadot accused him of threatening her career, while Charisma Carpenter, who starred in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, claimed he'd been verbally abusive and insulting, leading to anxiety and panic.
Reflecting on his arguments with Gadot during the production of Justice League, Whedon claimed that some of what she thought he was saying -- including the alleged threats -- could have been due to miscommunication on the actress' part.
"English is not her first language," Whedon suggested. "And I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech."
Gadot responded to this in a comment to New York Magazine, stating, "I understood perfectly."
Regarding Carpenter's claims -- as well as the allegations leveled by several other actors on the sets of Buffy and Angel -- Whedon said, "I was young. I yelled, and sometimes you had to yell. This was a very young cast, and it was easy for everything to turn into a cocktail party."
With regards to Carpenter specifically, Whedon admitted, "I was not mannerly," but denied that he mocked her weight when he found out she was pregnant during production.
Ultimately, Whedon feels that his detractors and accusers have used "every weaponizable word of the modern era to make it seem like I was an abusive monster," and he feels like he's being unfairly represented.
"I think I’m one of the nicer showrunners that’s ever been," Whedon stated.
For more on the accusations against Whedon, see the video below.
Gal Gadot Talks Reporting Joss Whedon for His On-Set Comments
Charisma Carpenter Offers Advice on How to Help to Victims of Abuse
David Boreanaz Supports Charisma Carpenter After Joss Whedon Claims
'Justice League's Ray Fisher Accuses Joss Whedon of 'Abusive' Behavior
Popular Joss Whedon Fan Site Closes Down Days After Ex-Wife Pens Scathing Editorial