Joss Whedon addressed allegations of misconduct made against him in a new interview with New York magazine’s Vulture. Whedon, who has been accused of misconduct on multiple film and TV sets, including 2017’s Justice League, denied the allegations.
In response to a claim made by Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot that Whedon “threatened” her career during the production of Justice League, Whedon replied that the issue was her grasp of the English language. “I don’t threaten people,” Whedon said. “Who does that?” He added, “English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech.”
Apparently the concern arose when Whedon and Gadot argued over a scene she wanted cut from the film. The director then jokingly said that if Gadot wanted to get rid of it, she would have to “tie him to a railroad track and do it over his dead body.” Whedon explained, “Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track.” Gadot, responding to the interview in an email, replied, “I understood perfectly.”
In another instance, Ray Fisher alleged that Whedon’s behavior during the making of Justice League was “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.” In his interview with New York, Whedon denied all of Fisher’s allegations, including that Whedon had lightened the actor’s skin tone. The director claimed Fisher was simply trying to damage his reputation. “We’re talking about a malevolent force,” Whedon responded. “We’re talking about a bad actor in both senses.”
Several cast members on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, perhaps Whedon’s seminal work, have also spoken out about the director’s behavior. Cast member Charisma Carpenter’s alleged he was “casually cruel” to her during the making of Buffy and Angel, while Michelle Trachtenberg wrote on Instagram that she wasn’t allowed to be alone with Whedon.
“I was young,” Whedon explained to New York in response, although he said he wasn’t aware of Trachtenberg’s rule. “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, “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.”
Whedon is currently seeking treatment for sex and love addiction, along with other addictive tendencies, according to the interview. The director and showrunner used the feature as an opportunity to reflect on his choices and public perception, concluding that people have used “every weaponizable word of the modern era to make it seem like I was an abusive monster.” He added, “I think I’m one of the nicer showrunners that’s ever been.”