Shortly after Avengers: Age of Ultron hit theaters, director Joss Whedon quit Twitter. He didn’t give an official explanation at the time, which only opened the door to speculation. One especially popular theory was that Whedon was driven off by angry feminists, who’d taken issue with his portrayal of Black Widow.

But Whedon has finally spoken up to set the record straight, declaring that explanation to be “horseshit.” Instead, he offers a much less exciting justification for his decision. Read the Joss Whedon Twitter exit comments after the jump. 

During Whedon’s silence on the matter, a few prominent figures stepped forward to comment. Fellow Marvel filmmaker James Gunn offered up an especially earnest plea for fans to “try to be a little kinder, on the Internet and elsewhere,” while others took a less diplomatic approach.

For his part, though, Whedon now tells Buzzfeed that “militant feminists” had nothing to do with his departure:

That is horseshit. Believe me, I have been attacked by militant feminists since I got on Twitter. That’s something I’m used to. Every breed of feminism is attacking every other breed, and every subsection of liberalism is always busy attacking another subsection of liberalism, because god forbid they should all band together and actually fight for the cause.

I saw a lot of people say, ‘Well, the social justice warriors destroyed one of their own!’ It’s like, Nope. That didn’t happen. I saw someone tweet it’s because Feminist Frequency pissed on Avengers 2, which for all I know they may have. But literally the second person to write me to ask if I was OK when I dropped out was [Feminist Frequency founder] Anita [Sarkeesian].

Rather, he explains, he just needed to get away so he could focus on his work:

I just thought, Wait a minute, if I’m going to start writing again, I have to go to the quiet place. And this is the least quiet place I’ve ever been in my life. […] The real issue is me. Twitter is an addictive little thing, and if it’s there, I gotta check it.

Whedon acknowledges that he’s received some hateful messages, but is clear to draw a distinction between his experience and that of someone like Anita Sarkeesian’s:

For someone like Anita Sarkeesian to stay on Twitter and fight back the trolls is a huge statement. It’s a statement of strength and empowerment and perseverance, and it’s to be lauded. For somebody like me to argue with a bunch of people who wanted Clint and Natasha to get together, not so much. For someone like me even to argue about feminism — it’s not a huge win. Because ultimately I’m just a rich, straight, white guy. You don’t really change people’s minds through a tweet. You change it through your actions.

Whedon’s official, on-the-record explanation may be less dramatic, but it makes more sense. The filmmaker has clearly been worn out by Avengers: Age of Ultron and the subsequent press tour, and no one could blame him for wanting to take a breather. His full interview with Buzzfeed can be found here.

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