Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner Release Statements on Calling Black Widow a 'Slut' and a 'Whore'

Thursday, 23 April 2015 - 4:54PM
Avengers
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Thursday, 23 April 2015 - 4:54PM
Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner Release Statements on Calling Black Widow a 'Slut' and a 'Whore'
Yesterday, Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner courted controversy when they called the Black Widow character a "slut" and a "whore" in an interview promoting Avengers: Age of Ultron:



In the above interview with Digital Spy, Renner and Evans are asked about the romance between Black Widow and Hulk, especially since some fans were expecting her to begin a romance with either Hawkeye or Captain America. Renner responded, "She's a slut," Evans laughed and said, "I was going to say something along that line. She's a complete whore." Then, when the interviewer joked that Black Widow would just be the sidekick in whatever movie she's in, "flirting away," Evans said, "She'll just flirt with everybody." Then, Renner said, "She has a prosthetic leg anyway."






Some are arguing that those who are upset by these comments are missing the context, that Renner and Evans were being ironic and making fun of the question. I absolutely disagree. They clearly meant it as a "joke," but the joke wasn't making fun of the question, it was simply meant to be a sexist joke (and an ableist one, for good measure).

Others (including Jeremy Renner) have argued that it doesn't matter because Black Widow is a fictional character. Not only do fictional representations, and our reactions to said representations, affect real-life discrimination, but the comments also indirectly insulted Scarlett Johansson, whether they want to admit it or not. Particularly when the interviewer drew attention to the fact that the character has been marginalized in previous Marvel films, they should have realized that their comments would inevitably be tied to the marginalization and objectification of a very real person.

And then they issued statements in response to the controversy. Evans's was a genuine apology, while Renner's was one of those non-apologies that essentially says, "Sorry if you were offended, but you're way oversensitive."

From Evans: "Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America. We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize."

From Renner: "I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone. It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour."




I can't believe this still needs to be said, but it doesn't matter if Renner didn't intend for his joke to be "serious." A statement doesn't have to be "serious" in order to reinforce stereotypes and contribute to a culture of misogyny. I'm sure they were just joking around and didn't mean to cause any harm, but they did. Evans should be commended for taking responsibility for that, while Renner should think about giving that whole "apology" thing another try.

Via Comicbook.com.
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