The Avengers director Joss Whedon’s image as one of Hollywood’s most feminist men has taken a hard knock after his ex-wife revealed he had multiple affairs throughout their 16-year marriage.
In a brutally honest post for The Wrap, Kai Cole exposes her former husband as a serial-cheater, saying the breakdown of their marriage and the sudden realisation of his lies left her diagnosed with a complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
“My entire reality changed overnight, and I went from being a strong, confident woman, to a confused, frightened mess,” she writes in the piece.
Whedon is best known as the creator of ’90s phenomenons Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel and, more recently, as the writer and director of Marvel’s blockbuster The Avengers and writer of its 2015 sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron.
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He also has a reputation as one of the ‘nice guys’ of Hollywood – heralded as a feminist fighting for women’s rights and making sure they are portrayed as complex, multi-faceted humans in his movies. His cachet is so much so, that he’s been asked to speak at feminist events such as the Make Equality Reality Gala and has even accepted an award for his “for his courageous support of women’s rights”.
Cole makes the claim, however, that Whedon is a hypocrite.
“…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 scrutinise his writing as anything other than feminist,” she writes.
“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.
“I want the people who worship him to know he is human, and the organisations giving him awards for his feminist work, to think twice in the future about honouring a man who does not practice what he preaches.”
Cole, who describes herself as a “very private person” says she only wrote her personal essay to set the record straight.