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Entertainment Weekly

TV

Joss Whedon fan site shuts down after ex-wife's critical essay 

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After 15 years, Whedonesque is shutting down.

The popular Joss Whedon fan site announced Monday it is “closing down” and will become a read-only site “at some stage” in the future. The site was a discussion board hub for all things related to The Avengers director and Firefly showrunner, who has inspired a passionate and loyal fan community that few writer-producers in Hollywood can match.

Recently, Whedon — who has supported and espoused feminist causes and created strong female characters throughout his career — has been under fire among some fans after his ex-wife, Kai Cole, wrote a guest blog for The Wrap alleging her former husband is a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals.”

The two were married in the 1990s, separated in 2012 and finalized their divorce in 2016. Cole accused her ex of a “secret affair” on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and claimed Whedon “hid multiple affairs and a number of inappropriate emotional ones that he had with his actresses, co-workers, fans, and friends.” Cole said she wrote the blog “to let women know that he is not who he pretends to be.” Whedon issued a statement saying the blog “includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations,” but also that he won’t comment “out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife.”

Whedonesque owners were asked by readers if the site was shutting down because of “the issue” or for another reason. While no exact reason was given for the closure, one owner, Caroline van Oosten de Boer, didn’t deny it might have been a factor, but stated, “I have been toying with closing down the site for various reasons for the last five years or so.”

On social media, van Oosten de Boer also tweeted about the site shut down (and alluded to Cole’s accusations):

Readers opinions were varied, many feeling that Whedon’s personal life shouldn’t be an issue in continuing the fan site. Though as one reader put it: “Seems the right decision to close the site, and a dignified last post. This site has felt like a kind of time capsule to me, the way it harks back to the golden age of Joss Whedon shows, and also the now antiquated site design. :-) It served fans of his work well over the years, but times change and it’s time to move on. Obviously, a sad way for things to end, but such is life. I guess heroes always turn out to be flawed and complex people, some more than others.”

Despite the site closing, the Whedonseque Twitter account will remain active:

Whedon was previously criticized from a feminist perspective after his film The Avengers: Age of Ultron came under fire for its depiction of Black Widow’s storyline.

Next up for Whedon is Nov. 17’s Justice League, where Whedon took over directing duties from Zack Snyder after the latter suffered a personal family tragedy.

For more on Whedon, check out our 2013 deep-dive interview with the director where he talks about his upbringing, inspirations, early career and more.

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