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Arts and Entertainment

Joss Whedon's Ex-Wife Writes Essay Accusing Him Of Feminist Hypocrisy

Joss Whedon and Kai Cole in 2012. (Photo by Karl Walter / Getty Images)
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Joss Whedon, the writer and director who, most recently, was tapped to adapt the Batgirl movie, has been called out by his ex-wife Kai Cole for being a "hypocrite preaching feminist ideals" via an essay she wrote for The Wrap.

Whedon, the creator of cult shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, has built a reputation as a feminist icon, despite simultaneously receiving criticism for the glaring anti-feminism of his projects like Avengers: Age of Ultron. He and Cole got together in 1991 and married in 1995. They separated in 2012 and were divorced in 2016. In her essay, Cole explains how his external feminist persona contradicts the life they led together.

According to Cole, at the end of their marriage, Whedon wrote to her and revealed the truth of several sexual and emotional affairs he held while they were together. He said,

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. Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet and I can’t touch it. [...] I let myself love you. I stopped worrying about the contradiction. As a guilty man I knew the only way to hide was to act as though I were righteous. And as a husband, I wanted to be with you like we had been. I lived two lives.
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Cole describes how this experience led her to develop complex PTSD (a form of PTSD that comes from repeated trauma rather than a singular moment) and she has spent the years since he admitted the truth attempting to rebuild her life and self-esteem.

Whedon's team responded by commenting, “While this account includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations which can be harmful to their family, Joss is not commenting, out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife.” Whedon and Cole have two children together.

The 15-year-old Joss Whedon fan site Whedonesque has shut down, according to Vulture. The site announced it would delete the comments section and become a read-only site (they will maintain their Twitter account). The site doesn't directly acknowledge Cole's essay, but their closure announcement came Monday, a day after Cole's essay was published.

Cole is a working architect and had previously founded Bellwhether Pictures with Whedon.

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