3:07pm PT by Graeme McMillan
James Gunn Calls for a Kinder, Gentler Fandom Following Joss Whedon's Twitter Disappearance
A day after Joss Whedon shut down his Twitter account, prompting discussion about whether or not he was escaping criticism and threats resulting from Avengers: Age of Ultron's portrayal of women, James Gunn has taken to Facebook to make a plea for more polite social media.
"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," Gunn wrote at the start of a lengthy post on the site. "The angry contingent of fandom is getting more aggressive all the time, and it's difficult to block out as a person in the public eye."
Writing that he was "very angry" when he was younger ("It's something I have worked on, both personally and through years of therapy," he added), Gunn used the post to make a plea that "we all try to be a little kinder, on the Internet and elsewhere."
Sharing his own experience about being affected by a Twitter comment by someone who was hurt by something one of his characters said, Gunn wrote: "It's easy to be outraged by these tweets. But whatever these angry tweeters are in need of, I don't think it's more anger and more rage thrown back at them on Twitter. 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."
Whedon's Twitter account was deleted Monday, leading many — including Patton Oswalt, as can be seen below — to speculate that it was in response to the backlash against the second Avengers movie's treatment of the character Black Widow (see this article for a summary of many of those complaints). The real reason for Whedon's action remains unknown.
Yep. There is a "Tea Party" equivalent of progressivism/liberalism. And they just chased Joss Whedon off Twitter. Good job, guys. Ugh.— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) May 4, 2015