He Claimed To Admire Strong Women Yet Admitted To Enjoying Having “An Advantage” Over Them
Early on in the interview, Whedon dove straight into how he is in therapy to treat complex post-traumatic stress disorder from his damaging childhood, and he even checked himself into an addiction-treatment centre in Florida for one month. But his reason for working on himself, amidst a string of allegations against him? Well, because he "didn't have much else to do".
"The allegations against him had led friends to stop calling. He was out of work and wasn’t writing," Shapiro wrote. "What story could he even tell? There were things about his life he was only beginning to understand. 'Not the things being said in the press, necessarily, but things I’m not comfortable with,' [Whedon] told me. 'I’m like, I have nothing going on. I can do some work on me'."
He then went onto tell Shapiro how his childhood saw him experience "duality" with the women in his life.
"He admired strong women like his mother, yet he’d discovered he was capable of hurting them, 'usually by sleeping with them and ghosting or whatever'," Whedon told Shapiro.
"He would later tell his biographer this duality gave him 'an advantage' over the girls in his college class on feminism when it came to discussing relations between the sexes. 'I have seen the enemy,' [Whedon] said, 'and he’s in my brain!'."
He Called Out Ray Fisher For The Allegations, Blaming Him For Being A "Bad Actor"
Ray Fisher went public with allegations of Whedon's "completely unacceptable" behaviour on set of the film Justice League in July 2020.
"Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable," Fisher wrote on Twitter. "He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Accountability > Entertainment."
According to The Guardian, Fisher revealed that he'd been told by a source that Whedon had lightened his skin tone in the 2017 film and cut several actors of colour from the film in rewrites. Approaching Whedon about it, the filmmaker told him: “It feels like I’m taking notes right now, and I don’t like taking notes from anybody—not even Robert Downey Jr.”
In the Vulture interview, Whedon addressed the allegations made by Fisher and said that he brightened the entire film in post-production—not just Fisher’s skin tone—and that he cut down the Cyborg’s role because he felt Fisher didn't deliver a good enough performance.
According to Whedon, he claimed viewers at test screenings had reported that Cyborg was “the worst of all the characters in the film”.
"We're talking about a malevolent force," he told Shapiro. "We're talking about a bad actor in both senses."
Whedon Denied Gal Gadot's Allegations Against Him, Saying "English Is Not Her First Language"
Earlier in 2021, Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot confirmed anonymous reports that Whedon 'threatened' her career when they clashed on set, while reshooting Justice League, as per EW.
"He kind of threatened my career and said if I did something, he would make my career miserable and I just took care of it instead," Gadot said in an interview with Israeli news outlet N12.
However, from Whedon's perspective, he claimed that their disagreement was all due to a language barrier because of— wait for it—Gadot's bilingual background.
"English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech," Whedon told Vulture of Gadot's accusation.
Shapiro wrote: "He recalled joking about a scene Gadot wanted him to cut and quipping that she'd have to tie his body to a train track to get him to do so."
She added that Whedon told her, "Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track."
As for how Gadot has responded to Whedon's explanation, she told New York Magazine, "I understood perfectly."
He Denied Fat-shaming A Then-Pregnant Charisma Carpenter, But Confirmed He Often Yelled On The Set Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer
One of the most prominent allegations made against Whedon was one by actress Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the spin-off Angel. Back in February 2021, she publicly called out her experience of working with Whedon for nearly two decades.
"Joss has a history of being casually cruel. He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly," she wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.
"While he found his misconduct amusing, it only severed 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 also went on to claim that Whedon called her fat when she was four months pregnant, harassed her about if she was "going to keep it", and then "unceremoniously" fired her from Angel after she gave birth.
It's important to note that multiple Buffy alumni, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Marsters and Michelle Trachtenberg all supported Carpenter’s claims of a “toxic environment”.
Speaking to Vulture, Whedon did acknowledge his missteps from his time working on Buffy and Angel, somewhat confirming his aggressive demeaour on set. "I was young," he said.
“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.”
As for Carpenter's allegations, Whedon did state that he "was not mannerly" when finding out Carpenter was pregnant but still denied calling her fat.
"Most of my experiences with Charisma were delightful and charming," he said. "She struggled sometimes with her lines, but nobody could hit a punch line harder than her."
Whedon Justified Having Affairs With Other Women, Because Otherwise He'd "Always Regret It"
Back in 2017, Whedon's ex-wife, Kai Cole, penned an open letter to his fans, expressing her disgust over his behaviour towards women and revealing that he had multiple affairs during their marriage.
Whedon used to be applauded for creating the feminist icon Buffy Summers, but to Cole, she described her ex-husband as a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals”.
"Fifteen years later, when he was done with our marriage and finally ready to tell the truth, he wrote me, 'When I was running Buffy, I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women. It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth'," he apparently told her.
"Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet and I can’t touch it," she recalled him telling her. Of course, he ended up admitting that he had been unfaitful, but hoped the first affair “would be ENOUGH, that THEN we could move on and outlast it”.
When speaking to Vulture, Whedon was asked about the allegations that he had slept with multiple employees, journalists and fans while married.
He explained that he felt “f---ing terrible about them”, but felt he “had” to have sexual relationships with women, particularly beautiful and young women who he believed would have ignored him before he was famous, because he would “always regret it” if he didn't.
And Finally, He Denied Accusations Claiming He Is "An Abusive Monster", Adding That He's One Of The "Nicer" Showrunners Around
In his final ode to denial, Whedon spoke of the allegations against his demeanour on set, with many claiming that he was difficult to work with.
Whedon denied the accusations, instead claiming that people had used “every weaponisable word of the modern era to make it seem like I was an abusive monster".
And with one final blow, he told Vulture, "I think I’m one of the nicer showrunners that’s ever been”.