Avengers director Joss Whedon quits Twitter
Director Joss Whedon has deleted his Twitter account, following criticism of his latest film, Age of Ultron.
Its portrayal of female characters such as assassin Black Widow by Scarlett Johannsson had been called sexist.
Comic-book fans had also criticised Marvel's Avengers superhero film's plot, on the social network.
Immediately prior to deleting his account, Whedon tweeted: "Thank you to all the people who've been so kind and funny and inspiring up in here".
Soon after, a search for an account under the @josswhedon handle returned a "page not found" error.
One Twitter use had created a widely shared montage image showing many of the messages, including abuse and threats, sent to Whedon.
Many called him sexist and misogynistic and said he had done a "hatchet job" on Black Widow, also known as Natasha Romanoff.
One asked why the words "strong female character" were not in his vocabulary.
But many of Whedon's fans have now turned on the critics, subjecting some to harassment and abuse.
Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt accused them of having "chased Joss Whedon off Twitter".
Whedon had been a high-profile user of Twitter, calling it "enormous work - very fun".
In early April, he issued an apology after tweeting a clip from the forthcoming Jurassic World film was "70s era sexist", saying his criticism of another person's work in this way had been "bad form".
In the past, Whedon has used his Twitter account to voice his support for activist Anita Sarkeesian, who has highlighted examples of what she calls misogyny and sexism in many video games.
Prior to directing the two Avengers films, Whedon was best known for writing and directing the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer TV series.