Joss Whedon is understandably angry. “The Avengers” director is now living in the increasingly dystopian reality that is Donald Trump’s America after campaigning hard for the other side.
A quick look at his Twitter account paints the portrait of a man who, like millions of others, is horrified by the president and his team’s behavior and the policies he’s rolled out in his first week in office.
Whedon is justifiably angry, but not all his anger is being directed in best place. On Tuesday, Whedon tweeted a photo of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, whom he called “Voldemort in training,” and then seemingly compared Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, to a dog ― specifically, a Pekingese.
While many read the tweet as a dig at Ivanka (multiple outlets reported it as such) it turns out he was actually comparing Donald Trump to a Pekingese. (It’s a lap dog after all).
When The Huffington Post reached out to Whedon’s agent in an attempt to clarify his tweet, he said the director typically does not comment on his social media posts. But then he did:
But regardless of who Whedon actually meant to insult, the tweet didn’t accomplish much except putting him on the receiving end of backlash.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the tweet set off a firestorm of responses from irate people, including one Twitter user who responded, “Wow calling his wife a dog? I guess it’s OK to demean women as long as you don’t like them or their husbands, eh?”
Meanwhile, another Twitter user shot back, “This from the man who prides himself on being such a great feminist. Unreal. I guess just liberal women. Typical.”
To be clear, people shouldn’t feel as though Ivanka Trump must be shielded from criticism ― she’s is a public figure who could likely have an office in the White House and an influence on her father ― but comparing her to a dog accomplishes nothing positive.
Comments like Whedon’s, had it been targeted at Ivanka, and Chelsea Handler’s recent quip that she has no interest in interviewing first lady Melania Trump because “she can barely speak English,” are ultimately a disservice.
If Whedon wanted to call Ivanka out, there are so many better ways of doing it than comparing her to a type of dog — starting with the fact that she’s positioned herself throughout her father’s campaign as an advocate for women while supporting what is quickly becoming one of the most anti-women administrations in U.S. history.
Note: This post has been updated throughout.