Today, the long-running Joss Whedon fan site Whedonesque.com announced it is closing down, following harsh allegations from the his ex-wife questioning his status as an admired Hollywood feminist.
Kai Cole, who was married to Whedon from 1995 to 2016, wrote a guest blog on The Wrap that alleged the director had "multiple" affairs during their relationship and therefore wasn't really a feminist.
Cole shares quotes from a letter Whedon allegedly wrote to her that appear to verify the infidelity.
A spokesperson for Joss Whedon has stated that Cole's account of their relationship "includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations." The statement said the director is "not commenting out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife."
In The Wrap blog post, Cole said she believes Whedon "used his relationship" with Cole as a "shield" so people would believe he wrote female characters and worked with women because he was a feminist - not because sexual attraction might have been involved. She called Whedon's life as both a public feminist and an alleged adulterer a "hypocrisy."
Cole also wrote that since the breakdown of her marriage, she has suffered from complex post-traumatic stress disorder, or C-PTSD, a condition linked to repeated traumatic events.
Although Whedonesque.com did not specifically cite Cole's allegations in its farewell post, it encouraged fans to "mark our passing" with a donation to organizations that deal with C-PTSD.
To mainstream audiences, Whedon is perhaps best known as the man who turned 2012's The Avengers into a gold mine for Marvel Studios. After the movie (which he both wrote and directed) became the highest-grossing superhero film of all time, Whedon wrote and directed the follow-up, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and became involved in multiple superhero-centered concepts since.
But for Whedon's long-time fans, Whedon has not only been an admired, long-time creator of geek-TV and comic books, but he's also been the focus of a sometimes obsessive fanbase for what became known as the 'Whedonverse.' Including TV shows he created like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the cult-hit Firefly (and its later feature film Serenity), the Whedonverse became a particular favorite among female fans in the emerging online fandom of the '90s and early 2000's.
Critics noted a strong feminist theme in Whedon's early works, and the creator became an outspoken proponent of female-led film projects, including his own work on a Wonder Woman movie.
Whedon also sparked controversy among online feminists earlier this year when he tweeted something that made fun of Nicole Kidman's appearance (when he disagreed with her politics), and later compared Ivanka Trump with a dog (although he later said the insult was directed at Donald Trump).
Whedon is currently directing reshoots of Warner Bros.'s Justice League, and is scheduled to write/direct a live-action Batgirl film. He also continues to over see both the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel titles at Dark Horse Comics.