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'English Is Not Her First Language'?! Joss Whedon Breaks Long Silence On Abuse Allegations In Shocking Interview!

Joss Whedon Abuse Accusations Response Interview Justice League Buffy

Well, there’s breaking your silence and then there’s breaking your silence. Wow.

Joss Whedon has been accused of abusive, bullying behavior by various cast members across multiple projects over the past year or so, and throughout it all it seemed the usually wordy writer was keen to keep his head down and avoid any press on the situation.

But it turns out he was just biding his time and waiting to hit back if his new profile in New York magazine is anything to go on. Over the course of the bombshell interview, the Avengers director responds to almost every allegation, and it isn’t to apologize one-by-one.

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The accusations that opened the floodgates were made by Ray Fisher, the actor who played Cyborg in the Justice League movie.

Whedon was hired to take over after director Zack Snyder‘s family tragedy caused him to have to leave the project. (At least, that was the public story — more recently Snyder has implied the film was taken away from him due to studio worries, which makes sense considering they had one of the architects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe come in and reshoot a ton of it.)

Three years after the movie came out, Fisher took back all the positive words he had said at the time about Whedon’s direction and took to Twitter to accuse him of “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” behavior. He also blasted the higher-ups at Warner Bros.

While Whedon said none of Fisher’s claims were “either true or merited discussing” he did specifically respond to the implication that he was racist in having lightened the skin tone of Fisher and other actors of color, calling that accusation “false and unjust.” The filmmaker says he simply brightened everything, costumes, backgrounds, all the colors through the entire movie (which is pretty obviously true and was remarked on heavily in reviews at the time) and that it wasn’t targeted at actors’ skin colors.

As for scaling back Fisher’s role? Well, he obviously couldn’t deny that given how much more the character is explored in the Snyder Cut, which aired on HBO Max last year. But he’s not apologizing for it either. He says Cyborg’s part was cut down for multiple reasons, first and foremost that in Snyder’s version it “logically made no sense.” Huh. He also says he and Fisher spent hours together talking about reshaping the role and that their discussions were friendly and respectful. Hmm. That doesn’t exactly match with the tone of his next comments…

Whedon also told the interviewer he didn’t think Fisher’s acting in the movie was very good. Yeah. The article also mentions an anonymous studio source revealing that his character tested the worst with audiences. So Whedon cut it almost completely. But cutting isn’t fixing, so you can understand why Fisher might be upset.

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As far as Whedon is concerned, that spite is fueling the “false” accusations of bad behavior. He straight up told the mag:

“We’re talking about a malevolent force. We’re talking about a bad actor in both senses.”


Not only that, he even suggests the campaign against him was on behalf of Snyder, whose toxic fans he went also went after. He said about Fisher’s turn:

“I don’t know who started it. I just know in whose name it was done.”

Whoa. This is starting to sound like some conspiracy theorizing here! While the public opinion turning against Whedon and his version of the film does indirectly benefit his predecessor, Snyder’s version had already been greenlit to appear on HBO Max before Fisher came out swinging against Whedon. So the timelines don’t exactly add up to Machiavellian scheming here.

And of course, it wasn’t just Cyborg. Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, also confirmed a story about Whedon bullying her on set, threatening her career. Well, the Firefly creator has an answer for that as well. And you are not going to like it!

Unlike the explanations he gave for Fisher’s claims, he is straight up denying Gadot’s:

“I don’t threaten people. Who does that?”

Too many people unfortunately, and certainly too many in Hollywood, as we’ve learned the past five years. He explained it was just confusion — blaming a language barrier — that had her upset:

“English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech.”

Whoa. Even with the self-deprecation at the end there, blaming her language capabilities is pretty harsh.

He did get more in depth apparently, saying the two were arguing over a scene in his new script she didn’t want to do — and he joked that if she wanted to cut the scene she would have to “tie him to a railroad track and do it over his dead body.” He said:

“Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track.”

He’s saying she didn’t follow him. Well, she has something to say about that. Responding in a comment via email, she told the mag simply:

“I understood perfectly.”

Ouch. Imagine that. Whedon also blasted Snyder’s army of fans for pushing narratives against him when it comes to the misunderstanding with Gadot, saying bluntly that “they don’t give a f**k about feminism” but only about attacking him any way they can:

“I was made a target by my ex-wife, and people exploited that cynically.”

Here’s the thing though, about Whedon’s defense blaming Snyder’s cast and fans for some kind of misplaced loyalty, whatever he’s suggesting: Some cast members of his beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer have also spoken out, chief among them Charisma Carpenter. After years of rumors, she followed Fisher’s lead and spoke out against her old TV boss, writing in a powerful personal essay:

“For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day. Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers. The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer. It is with a beating, heavy heart that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively.”

She accused him of being “casually cruel,” body shaming her, and ultimately firing her from Angel in retaliation for getting pregnant. She wrote:

“I made excuses for his behavior and repressed my own pain. I have even stated publicly at conventions that I’d work with him again. Only recently, after years of therapy and a wake-up call from the Time’s Up movement, do I understand the complexities of this demoralized thinking. It is impossible to understand the psyche without enduring the abuse. Our society and industry vilify the victims and glorify the abusers for their accomplishments. The onus is on the abused with an expectation to accept and adapt to be employable. No accountability on the transgressor who sails on unscathed. Unrepentant. Remorseless.”

Multiple cast members spoke out in support of Charisma (though most also said they never witnessed any bad behavior themselves). However, that outpouring of support culminated in Buffy‘s youngest regular cast member, Michelle Trachtenberg, saying there was a rule on set that Whedon was not allowed to be alone in a room with her. She did not elaborate, but that single statement has fueled speculation — perhaps even unfairly — of even worse problems.

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Whedon told NewYork he was never aware of a Trachtenberg’s rule, but when it comes to Charisma, he remembers things differently:

“Most of my experiences with Charisma were delightful and charming. She struggled sometimes with her lines, but nobody could hit a punch line harder than her… I did not call her fat. Of course I didn’t.”

As for his behavior on set generally during the Buffy years, he actually admits to being a jerk sometimes but maintains it was part of the job:

“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.”

He added:

“I think I’m one of the nicer showrunners that’s ever been.”

So… why all the accusations then? As he puts it, “every weaponizable word of the modern era to make it seem like I was an abusive monster.”

His response is clearly still very much on the defensive. “I was young.” “English is not her first language.” “She had trouble with her lines.” He consistently throws the blame around throughout the piece while deflecting the worst. He’s obviously not ready to make any kind of apology here.

The profile reveals Whedon is in treatment for sex and love addiction, as well as other addictions. But this interview was clearly not given with the intention of making amends.

In a way, it seems Charisma Carpenter said it best: “No accountability on the transgressor who sails on unscathed. Unrepentant. Remorseless.” That’s what we’re reading from this interview anyway — a man who definitely doesn’t believe he did ANYTHING wrong.

What do YOU think of how Whedon fired back against the accusations??

[Image via Brian To/FayesVision/Nicky Nelson/MEGA/WENN.]

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Jan 17, 2022 15:54pm PDT