Joss Whedon’s Ex-Wife Writes Essay Accusing Him of Feminist ‘Hypocrisy’: ‘He Is Not Who He Pretends to Be’

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Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Writer-director Joss Whedon has a long, somewhat complicated history with the depiction of women in film, taking heat for female story lines in his own movies including Avengers: Age of Ultron, while simultaneously critiquing what he perceives as sexism in films like Jurassic World. While Whedon has dedicated much of his career to creating female ass-kickers in projects like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, and, presumably, the upcoming Batgirl, a new essay written by his ex-wife Kai Cole for the Wrap claims the director’s outspoken feminism belies a marriage marked by cheating, a deception she sees as antithetical to his public persona. Writes Cole, “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.”

Now a Los Angeles–based architect, Cole delves into the alleged multiple infidelities her ex-husband carried on without her knowledge, the first of which took place on the set of Buffy. Only when their marriage dissolved, she says, did the Avengers director admit the extent to which he was living “two lives.” Writes Cole, “Despite understanding, on some level, that what he was doing was wrong, he never conceded the hypocrisy of being out in the world preaching feminist ideals, while at the same time, taking away my right to make choices for my life and my body based on the truth.”

Married in 1995 and separated in 2012, Cole and Whedon were officially divorced in July 2016; the pair have two children. Cole concludes, “Now that it is finally public, I want to let women know that he is not who he pretends to be. I want the people who worship him to know he is human, and the organizations giving him awards for his feminist work, to think twice in the future about honoring a man who does not practice what he preaches.” You can read the entire essay here. A spokesperson for Whedon told the Wrap in response, “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.”

Joss Whedon’s Ex-Wife Calls Him a Feminist Hypocrite