Architect and producer Kai Cole has posted a devastating account of her and Joss Whedon’s 16-year marriage, which ended after a very private five-year separation. In her piece, Cole reveals that Whedon cheated on her multiple times and lied about it, and she accuses Whedon of “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.”
“He deceived me for 15 years,” Cole writes, “so he could have everything he wanted. I believed, everyone believed, that he was one of the good guys, committed to fighting for women’s rights, committed to our marriage, and to the women he worked with. But 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.”
I encourage you to read the whole post.
Cole writes that Whedon first began cheating on her on the set of Buffy, but more affairs followed after that – affairs which he hid from her. He only revealed his cheating when he filed for divorce after their nearly two decades together.
A lot of what Cole describes from Whedon sounds like sounds like classic “nice guy” behavior and entitlement; it’s the sort of stuff we’ve all seen before. For example, Whedon reportedly described his Buffy affair like this: “When I was running Buffy, I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women. It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth. Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet and I can’t touch it.” I mean, ew.
And Cole writes that she doubted her own suspicions, because of Whedon’s public commitments to feminism. “There were times in our relationship that I was uncomfortable with the attention Joss paid other women,” she says. “He always had a lot of female friends, but he told me it was because his mother raised him as a feminist, so he just liked women better. He said he admired and respected females, he didn’t lust after them. I believed him and trusted him.”
Now, just so we can get it out of the way: yes, this piece comes with the caveats that (1) people who are recently divorced sometimes say shitty, exaggerated things about one another because they’re in a lot of pain (2) monogamy, especially given its patriarchal history, is not a pre-condition for a feminist life. (Honesty with your partner(s) is, though!) It’s fine to consider these two points when absorbing this piece, but don’t try and use them to dismiss it, okay?
This must’ve been an incredibly difficult piece for Cole to write, and – whatever positive impact Whedon’s work may have had on the industry, or on any of us personally – it sounds like he was a pretty terrible husband. I’m sorry she had to put up with this so quietly for so long, and I hope speaking up will help her heal.
(Via The Wrap; image via Shutterstock)
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