It seems that Joss Whedon is taking a little break from the world, having announced his leaving the MCU, and now deleting his twitter account. Rumors have been flying as to why the hugely successful Avengers director would be departing the Marvel family, with speculation ranging from "artistic differences" to being run off by negative comments and angry feminists.
Except... let's just take a minute here. Whedon has already given some clear and simple explanations for his choice to leave the money-printing machine that is the MCU, and it's nothing sinister. Last week, I wrote about his comments on his departure, and quite simply, he just wanted to move on to something new after five years.
Now he's also hit back at the idea that angry tweets drove him from Twitter in a conversation with BuzzFeed. Shockingly enough, he just decided that maybe a highly addictive social media site wasn't the best thing for his creativity.
"'I just thought, wait a minute, if I’m going to start writing again, I have to go to the quiet place,”'he said. 'And this is the least quiet place I’ve ever been in my life. … It’s like taking the bar exam at Coachella. It’s like, um, I really need to concentrate on this! Guys! Can you all just… I have to… It’s super important for my law!'"
Despite the fact that he called rumors that he fled the micro-blogging platform "horseshit," it's still very true that the site was absolutely overflowing with mean tweets directed at Whedon, summarized in this post from Storify.
At this point, the whole situation seems a little sad. A favorite director of mine leaves a favorite studio of mine, and then backs out of Twitter amidst a storm of nasty tweets. It seems that everyone is leaping to the worst conclusions, coming up with increasingly implausible and negative theories as to why he left. (Apparently just wanting a break to get back to writing is too straightforward and happy an idea for the internet masses.) Frankly, I was starting to get a little blue just thinking about it.
Then James Gunn did something amazing.
He posted this message to facebook, directly addressing the Whedon-Twitter furor, and beseeching his fans to be kind and show compassion.
My plea to all of you - and this is nothing new - is that we all try to be a little kinder, on the Internet and elsewhere. And, honestly, that includes being kind to the people who are tweeting this nonsense.
Yes, I know there are real issues at play here. But, again, I don't think the way to affect change is through rage.
This is absolutely the best thing to come out of such a miserable situation. There is something wonderful about seeing one member of the Marvel family stand up for another. Here, Gunn doesn't just encourage people to be nicer to Whedon himself - he goes so much further than that.
He is vulnerable and open about himself:
As a young person I was very angry, and it's something I have worked on, both personally and through years of therapy.
He asks people to really put themselves in the shoes of those people they are attacking:
Imagine being a guy, like Joss Whedon, who has committed his life to fandom and to creating the best characters he possibly can, characters he loves, and has spent two years of his life working on a movie, and then has to wake up to this shit on Twitter.
He asks for a dialogue on the best alternative ways to deal with situations like this:
I actually think that's what they're seeking. But what they need is something different. Compassion, maybe? A kind request for boundaries? I don't know. Maybe you guys have some ideas.
Finally, he sums up his desire for a little more kindness with a simple phrase:
Love you all,