After years of dodging #MeToo allegations like a portly, ginger Neo in a sexual harrassment Matrix, Joss Whedon was trending on Twitter the other day.
I assumed that his years of clinging to the “Buffy was feminist!” ledge above a roiling cauldron of accusations had finally worn him down and he’d fallen in, leaving behind only a sweaty handprint and a 1-and-1 score in the game of “Make a Great or Terrible Avengers Movie.”
Instead, it turns out he’s a racist — at least according to Ray Fisher, the black actor who worked with Whedon and claims to have suffered a good deal of abuse on the re-shoots for Justice League. Maybe Whedon’s “Firefly,” a series in which the heroes were all noble, sympathetic allegories for the Confederate South, should have been looked at a little closer. In fact, if you want a depressing afternoon, revisit that show and then imagine what conversations between Joss Whedon and Adam “Gamergate” Baldwin must be like behind closed doors.
Fortunately for Whedon, in this, probably the final season of human existence, the writing has taken an “anything goes!” attitude and it actually turned out to be a great day to be outed as a celebrity racist. It was a great day to be outed as a celebrity anything, as long as the other name trending was Armie Hammer.
Armie Hammer, who is confusingly neither of those things, is the blandly handsome actor you’ve probably seen in something-or-other. He was The Lone Ranger in that Johnny-Depp-As-Tonto remake that nobody bothered seeing, and he was in that well reviewed Guy Ritchie “Man From UNCLE” remake that you also, statistically, didn’t bother with.
Also he’s a cannibal.
I don’t really know how else to bring that up. Hammer’s name was trending because his phone allegedly got hacked and some of his messages to a woman included “I want to drink your blood” and “I’m 100% a cannibal.”
Like I say, Joss Whedon’s racism didn’t get much attention in that day’s “celebrity news” section.
Nonetheless, as part of an ongoing project, I present a short play: “A Bad Day At the Agent’s Office.”
[Int. Day. A talent agent’s office. ARTIE GENTMAN is sitting at his desk when his SECRETARY enters.]
SECRETARY: I have those reports you wanted, Artie.
ARTIE: You might have to hang on to them a while longer, Ms. Bird. Something has come up.
SECRETARY: Is it…?
ARTIE: [Sighs] Yeah. Yeah, I’m going to talk to him today.
SECRETARY: You don’t think it’s true, do you?
ARTIE: No, of course not! He can’t possibly… I mean… No. No, I don’t.
SECRETARY: Me neither. He’s not coming in, right?
ARTIE: No, I’ll do it over the phone.
SECRETARY: Thank god. Not that I think it’s true.
ARTIE: Right! Sure, it’s not true.
SECRETARY: And I’m sure he had good reasons for buying that old castle in Transylvania.
ARTIE: Ms. Bird, please, I think it’s Nonbinaryvania now. It’s always important to be sensitive.
SECRETARY: I don’t think our biggest problem is lack of sensitivity, given our client…
ARTIE: He’s innocent! Our client is innocent!
SECRETARY: Yeah, of course. I just… Why is he always sniffing my neck?
ARTIE: It’s a Hollywood thing! Like the double kiss. Or masturbating into a fern whilst maintaining eye contact.
SECRETARY: I don’t think you’re allowed to do that one anymore. I asked him why he did the neck thing once and he told me to stop being so rhesus negative.
ARTIE: I’ll talk to him, like I-
[The phone on the desk rings, ARTIE picks it up]
ARTIE: Hello? Yeah, I- …Joss… Joss, I really don’t have time for this right now. …No, I know you think he should know his place… I am NOT going to tell the press that he’s just being “uppity”… no… no… No, this isn’t the reason they cancelled your Avengers ’n’ Amos ’n’ Andy project… Well, for a ton of reasons… Look, we’ll Mel Gibson this whole thing, come back in five years and feign contrition, we’ll put you on Joe Rogan, it’ll be fine. …I know your phrenologist doesn’t like the shape of Rogan’s head. … Because nobody likes the shape of Rogan’s head! It’s why they put him on the radio! Look, I’ve gotta go. Call me when you finish the script for- What are you writing? …‘An all girl remake of the Al Jolson story.’ Well, fine. But try not to specify cup sizes for the leads this time, it doesn’t go down well. [He hangs up and shakes his head to clear it]
SECRETARY: Y’know, maybe you’re right and it’s a Hollywood thing, Joss has been sniffing my neck every time he sees me for years.
ARTIE: Exactly! Okay, let’s get this over with. [He picks up the phone and dials. There is a fairly long wait.] …Armie! How are ya! You okay, buddy? I didn’t get you out of the tub, did I? …Oh, right, you’re at your castle. What time is it there? …And you’re still awake?! Jeez, every time I call you in the day you’re in bed. You like to stay up and listen to the… yes, I’m sure they do make sweet music… …Oh, and a late dinner, I see. What’d you have? …With a nice Chianti? Great, great… Listen, it’s funny you should mention food, I have to ask you a question. Um… You don’t… eat… people, right Armie?! …No, of course. …Right. ….Lent your phone to Joss Whedon, right, that makes sense… Well, as long as we’re on the same page. Alright. Buhbye. [Hangs up]
SECRETARY: What’d he say?
ARTIE: He said if he drank blood he wouldn’t be able to look at himself in the mirror.
SECRETARY: …You do realise that’s not really a denial?
ARTIE: Ugh. You’re right. I’m just gonna have to go and talk to him in person. Tell Mina I’ll be away for a week or so…