Ghostbusters director Paul Feig is not willing to let a small minority of bullies take over geek culture. Feig posted a lengthy plea on Sunday night calling out those who “write misogyny and hate and threats” online.
Feig’s statements came as part of a clarification to a recent viral story involving the filmmaker, which include comments he made about the current cultural climate. “Geek culture is home to some of the biggest a–holes I’ve ever met in my life,” Feig was quoted as saying last week by the New York Daily News when asked about the online hate Ghostbusters has received. The quotes, however, were taken out of context; Feig made the remark on Feb. 9, 2015 in response to a question about geek culture in general, and not specifically in relation to Ghostbusters. (The Daily News has since added a correction to its original piece.)
“I very much regret saying in my answer that I had actually ‘met’ any ‘a–holes’ from the geek community,” Feig wrote on Sunday night. “I have never met anyone from the geek world face-to-face who wasn’t a warm, kind person. The ‘a–holes’ of which I speak are the ones who live online, who write those hateful tweets and posts and comments. I’m not talking about the people who have true concerns and worries about the rebooting of a franchise they love, nor am I talking about people who have watched the trailer for our movie and didn’t like it. Those are all valid opinions and I respect them all. I am talking about those that write misogyny and hate and threats. Those are the ‘a–holes’ of which I spoke. As a lifelong geek and proud member of the geek community (as well as the creator of the TV series Freaks and Geeks), I abhor bullies.”
Feig added that small group of bullies don’t represent geek culture at large. “The bullies are not the norm and I would dare say they are not even true geeks,” he wrote. “They are the micro minority. God bless the true geeks of the world and here’s to taking our community back from the bullies.”
Feig’s Ghostbusters has been the target of online hate since it was announced that the film would feature four female leads (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones). Last month, it was noted that the Ghostbusters trailer was the most disliked in the history of YouTube (though no official numbers are available).
Asked by EW about the response to the trailer, but not its YouTube dislikes, Feig said, “The reason I do comedy and not drama is because I want people to have a great time, to laugh and be happy. It’s great that this has become such a religion for everybody but at the same time these movies exist to make people laugh. It’s what Ivan [Reitman, director of the original Ghostbusters] was trying to do 30 years ago and it’s what we’re trying to do now.”
Read Feig’s full open letter to online bullies below. Ghostbusters is out July 15.