Joss Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole has accused the Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator of having multiple affairs and of being a "hypocrite preaching feminist ideals" in an opinion piece for The Wrap.
The couple were married for 16 years. They separated five years ago but only made the split public in May this year.
Since then, Cole writes, she's had to field questions on their marriage and she felt compelled to correct "misinformation" surrounding their relationship. Namely, that Cole alleges Whedon had numerous affairs throughout their marriage.
"There were times in our relationship that I was uncomfortable with the attention Joss paid other women," she writes. "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. On the set of Buffy Joss decided to have his first secret affair."
She then goes on to allege that Whedon would later confess to her that he'd had "multiple affairs" and a number of "inappropriate emotional ones" with actresses, co-workers, fans and friends throughout their marriage.
Whedon, writes Cole, wanted it all - he wanted her and the affairs. He also wanted to still own his 'feminist' beliefs. The director has long earned praise for creating strong, complex female characters (though his proclaimed feminism has been picked apart before by various outlets, including The Atlanticwho noted Whedon's convenient forgetting of the battles fought by feminists before him).
As Cole 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."
"He deceived me for 15 years, 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 scrutinise his writing as anything other than feminist."
Whedon hasn't spoken out on the claims, but in an appendix to Cole's article a statement from Whedon's spokesperson reads: "While this account includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations which can be harmful to their family, Joss is not commenting, out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife."
You can read the full article here.