A popular Joss Whedon fansite Whedonesque has shut down and its owners are converting it to read-only after operating for 15 years. They plan to keep their Twitter account, which has 80,000 followers, going. The moderators did not give a specific reason but did reveal that this is a decision that has actually been building for some time now. But the announcement came one day after a scathing essay was posted on The Wrap, written by Whedon’s ex-wife Kai Cole detailing the nasty dissolution of their marriage which includes accusations of multiple extramarital affairs.
One of the owners of Whedonesque, Caroline van Oosten de Boer, posted a farewell message stating:
I have been toying with closing down the site for various reasons for the last five years or so. Because I’d lost interest in the subject matter. For financial reasons. Because I kept thinking the site should be improved (technically) but I didn’t have the time or resources. This software is OLD! It is a miracle it was still running on 15 year old code.
Cole and Whedon first became romantically involved in the early 1990s, before the first failed ‘Buffy’ movie was made. According to Cole, it was she that urged Whedon to try and revive ‘Buffy’ as a TV series, something that Whedon was resistant to, as he wanted to be a filmmaker. But of course, as history showed, this was the right move and ‘Buffy’ became a pop culture phenomenon opening many doors for Whedon. Unfortunately, according to Cole, it was on the set of ‘Buffy’ that Whedon first began having affairs and he continued to do so, with “actresses, co-workers, fans and friends” over the years.
Perhaps the one thing Whedon is most lauded for is his creation and depiction of strong female figures, from Buffy and her sidekicks to the crew of ‘Serenity’ to most recently, Black Widow in Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ films. At one point, he developed a ‘Wonder Woman’ movie for Warner Brothers which never got made, but he recently signed with the studio again with plans to direct a ‘Batgirl’ movie and he took the reigns of ‘Justice League’ from departing director Zack Snyder who was dealing with a family tragedy.
If one male creator working in the world of entertainment could be counted on to do right by his female creations, it was Whedon.
Cole asserts that this was essentially a facade that Whedon used to deflect suspicion from his multiple affairs and “inappropriate emotional” relationships with other women.
But I now see how he used his relationship with me as a shield, both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist.
van Oosten de Boer tweeted this message:
‘Trust the art, not the artist,’ is a thing I stopped saying when I copped on it was probably an artist who coined the phrase.
— Caroline 🍜 (@cvodb) August 21, 2017
There have been plenty of celebrities’ whose personal lives have gotten… messy to say the least. Yet the public has been able to overlook such controversies. Charlie Sheen still finds work. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are among the most famous and in-demand actors in Hollywood, despite their relationship originating as an extramarital affair. Almost 300,000 people signed a petition to get Justin Bieber deported due to his rotten behavior in public, but he put out a song called ‘Sorry’ and all was forgiven.
Whedonesque may have shut down due to the accusations in Cole’s essay, but it sounds as though the site was struggling to survive anyway and this might have just been the final nail in the coffin.
Whedon declined to directly respond to Cole’s claims, but a representative stated that her article contains “inaccuracies and misrepresentations.”
Were you a visitor to Whedonesque? Or are you simply a Whedon fan? Do the details of his failed marriage taint your perception of his work?