In Defense of Whedon
I got my ass chewed on social media after news broke that Joss Whedon was a notorious womanizer and was, according to his ex wife, emotionally abusive. I said that we shouldn’t have a knee-jerk reaction to crucify the guy, that the allegations might not be true, that they might just be the venomous spew of a bitter ex. This naturally got me immediately labeled as a misogynist if not an abuser myself, possibly even a rapist. Only because I stressed the need for an “innocent until proven guilty” attitude. I wanted to wait and examine all the evidence before I reached a conclusion. If he’s guilty of being a slimeball, I said, then I will call him a slimeball. But by that point my accusers had already judged me and plugged their ears to anything else I might have to say.
I waited. I examined the evidence. There is nothing conclusive, but there are other witnesses, seemingly credible, who have substantiated the initial allegations that the guy is a first-class heel. Is it possible the guy who created BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER was a womanizer in his “secret” life? Could be, and that’s sad. But does that mean we all should automatically ignore his work, as some have suggested, that we should banish BUFFY to the same nether realms where reside in our estimations guys like Whedon if he IS in fact guilty of being a sleaze? I say no. Remember, Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a womanizer. Yes, it’s true, and no, I’m not equating Whedon and King. I only mention Dr. King to prove a point, and that point is this: a man and his accomplishments are two separate things. Flawed human beings can accomplish great things. In Whedon’s case, there’s the man and then there’s the Art. Don’t throw the Art out with the bathwater. Condemn the bad behavior, yes. Depending on the severity of the offense, you might even condemn the man. But judge the Art, the accomplishments, on their own merit.