Sarah Michelle Gellar and other Buffy the Vampire Slayer stars have spoken out after their castmate Charisma Carpenter accused the show’s creator Joss Whedon of bullying and abuse of power.
Sarah Michelle Gellar and three other Buffy the Vampire Slayer stars have spoken out after their castmate Charisma Carpenter accused the show’s creator Joss Whedon of bullying and abuse of power.
Gellar, who played the supernatural series’ titular character Buffy Summers from 1997 to 2003, appeared to validate Carpenter’s claims in a vague Instagram post on Wednesday afternoon.
‘While I am proud to have my name associated with Buffy Summers, I don’t want to be forever associated with the name Joss Whedon, ‘ the 43-year-old actress wrote.
‘I am more focused on raising my family and surviving a pandemic right now, so I will not be making any further statements at this time.
‘But I stand with all survivors of abuse and of proud of them for speaking out.’
Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s younger sister Dawn on the show, reposted Gellar’s statement and accused Whedon of ‘very not appropriate behavior’.
‘Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this,’ Trachtenberg wrote in her caption. ‘I am brave enough now as a 35 year old woman….To repost this. Because. This must. Be known. As a teenager. With his not appropriate behavior….very. Not. Appropriate.’
In a comment she added: ‘What he did was very bad. But we win. By surviving!’
Carpenter (left) hit out at Whedon in a Twitter post on Wednesday, branding him ‘toxic’ and ‘cruel’ and claiming he called her fat and threatened to fire her when she got pregnant
Gellar appeared to validate Carpenter’s claims in an Instagram post on Wednesday (pictured)
Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s younger sister Dawn on the show (above together), reposted Gellar’s statement and accused Whedon of ‘very not appropriate behavior’
Trachtenberg’s caption on her repost of Gellar’s statement is shown above
Castmate Amber Benson, who played Tara Maclay, chimed in on Twitter, saying: ‘Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top’
Trachtenberg also shared Gellar’s statement on her Instagram story, writing: ‘We know what he did. Behind. The. Scenes.’
Castmate Amber Benson, who played Tara Maclay, chimed in on Twitter, saying: ‘Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top.
‘[Carpenter] is speaking truth and I support her 100%. There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later.’
Emma Caulfield, who played Anya Jenkins, also shared Gellar’s post on Instagram, writing: ‘In the wise words of my friend @sarahmgellar.’
Trachtenberg also shared Gellar’s statement on her Instagram story, writing: ‘We know what he did. Behind. The. Scenes’
The controversy kicked off earlier on Wednesday when Carpenter attacked Whedon in a statement on Twitter, branding him ‘toxic’ and ‘cruel’.
Carpenter, who portrayed Cordelia Chase on Buffy for three seasons and in its spin-off Angel, claimed that Whedon called her fat and killed her character off after she had a baby.
The 50-year-old said she decided to speak out to show solidarity with actor Ray Fisher. Fisher last summer accused Whedon of ‘abuse’ and ‘unacceptable behavior’ while on the set, in 2017, of Justice League.
‘For nearly two decades I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day,’ Carpenter wrote. ‘Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
‘While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers.’
Carpenter, who portrayed Cordelia Chase (second from right) in the drama series for three seasons, spoke out against Whedon in a Twitter post on Wednesday
‘For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day,’ Carpenter wrote. ‘Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel’
Citing a series of ‘disturbing incidents’, Carpenter claimed her interactions with Whedon, 56, triggered an unspecified ‘chronic physical condition’ that she said she still suffers from today, some 20 years later.
‘Last summer, when Ray Fisher publicly accused Joss of abusive and unprofessional behavior toward the cast and crew during reshoots on the Justice League set in 2017, it gutted me,’ she continued.
‘Joss has a history of being casually cruel. He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly.’
Whedon has not yet responded to the allegations made by Carpenter. A DailyMail.com request for comment has so far gone unanswered.
Carpenter claims Whedon would regularly make ‘passive-aggressive’ threats to fire her throughout the filming of the two shows, which she said ‘wreaks havoc on a young actor’s self-esteem.’
The actress further alleged that Whedon would ‘callously’ mock her and call her fat to other members of the cast and crew when she was four months pregnant, despite weighing just 126 lbs, she said.
‘He was mean and biting, disparaging about others openly, and often played favorites, pitting people against one another to compete and vie for his attention and approval,’ Carpenter continued of Whedon.
She claimed in one instance Whedon called her in for a sit-down meeting to ‘interrogate and berate’ her regarding a tattoo she had gotten during filming to help her cope with ‘a volatile work climate that affected me physically.’
Carpenter has previously accused Whedon of writing her character off Angel during its fourth season back in 2003 because he was ‘upset’ she had gotten pregnant.
During Season 4, the character of Cordelia turns ‘evil’ and eventually ends up in a coma, never to reawaken.
Carpenter had been accused of attempting to hide her pregnancy from production at the time, something she vehemently denied in a 2019 Twitter post.
Revisiting that allegation on Wednesday, Carpenter accused Whedon of ‘intentionally refusing multiple calls from my agents making it impossible to connect with him to tell him the news that I was pregnant.’
As a result of Whedon’s alleged toxic workplace behavior, Carpenter said she experienced Braxton Hicks contractions, or false labor pains often brought on by stress, during filming in 2003 (She is pictured above with her son)
Carpenter (left, in 1999) claims Whedon would regularly make ‘passive-aggressive’ threats to fire her throughout the filming of the two shows, which she said ‘wreaks havoc on a young actor’s self-esteem’
Citing a series of ‘disturbing incidents’, Carpenter claimed her interactions with Whedon triggered an unspecified ‘chronic physical condition’ that she still allegedly suffers from today, some 20 years later
Once eventually informed, Carpenter said Whedon requested a one-on-one meeting with her, in which he allegedly asked her, ‘[Are you] going to keep it?’
‘He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me the following season once I gave birth,’ she claimed.
As a result of Whedon’s alleged toxic workplace behavior, Carpenter said she experienced Braxton Hicks contractions, or false labor pains often brought on by stress.
Carpenter has previously accused Whedon of writing her character off Angel during its fourth season back in 2003 because he was ‘upset’ she had gotten pregnant
During that time, Carpenter said she felt ‘powerless and alone’, believing there was nothing she could do to stop Whedon’s purported behavior.
‘After all, I had a baby on the way, and I was the primary breadwinner of my growing family.
‘Unfortunately, all this was happening during one of the most wonderful time in new motherhood. All that promise and joy sucked right out. And Joss was the vampire,’ she wrote.
In the years since, Carpenter said she has previously made excuses for Whedon’s alleged behavior, ‘repressed her own pain’ and even, on occasion, publicly stated she would be open to working with him again.
‘Only recently, after years of therapy … do I understand the complexities of this demoralized thinking,’ she wrote.
‘It is impossible to understand the psyche without enduring the abuse. Our society and industry vilify the victims and glorify the abusers for their accomplishments.’
Carpenter said she wished she’d spoken out against Whedon sooner, but said she now hopes she can ‘create space for the healing of others who I know have experienced similar serialized abuses of power.’
Whedon previously addressed the ‘killing off’ of Carpenter’s character in a 2003 interview with TV Guide.
‘We felt like we had taken that story…about as far as it could go. It just seemed like it was time because we were revamping the show, and then pairing it down…it just seemed like a good time for certain people move on,’ he said at the time.
As a result of Whedon’s alleged toxic workplace behavior, Carpenter said she experienced Braxton Hicks contractions, or false labor pains often brought on by stress during filming in 2003 (She’s pictured right, on the far left with the cast of Buffy)
Carpenter isn’t the first member of the Buffy cast to accused Whedon of toxic on-set behavior.
In a July interview with MetroUK, Sophia Crawford and Jeff Pruitt, a now-married couple who met while working on Buffy’s stunt team, also accused Whedon of abuse.
The couple claimed Whedon demanded they break up if Crawford wanting to continue working on the show. After they refused, they claim other directors were reluctant to work with them.
Pruitt has also claimed that his home computer had been ‘keylogged’, with one producer allegedly confirming that they had ‘had copies of every email he’d ever sent since he started the show.’
‘We had a great relationship, Joss and I, but he changed as the show took off,’ Pruitt said at the time.
‘He went from the humble writer who used to turn to me for ways to shoot fight scenes into a real egomaniac who believed his own hype. Then again, maybe he was always that way and I was simply too naive to see it as he never showed that side to me before.
‘Sophia and I kept going for as long as we could but tensions grew and certain members of the crew began to plot against each other – including shady things directed at me behind my back.’
The couple eventually stopped working on the show after season four.
Co-star James Marsters, who played fan-favorite Spike, detailed an allegedly aggressive interaction he had with Whedon over his character’s popularity on a recent podcast.
‘I came along, and I wasn’t designed to be a romantic character. But then the audience reacted that way to it. And I remember he backed me up against a wall one day, and he was just like, “I don’t care how popular you are, kid, you’re dead. You hear me? Dead. Dead!” And I was just like, “Uh, you know, it’s your football, man. OK”,’ he recounted.
Sophia Crawford and Jeff Pruitt (above on set), a now-married couple who met while working on Buffy’s stunt team, also accused Whedon of abuse
Prior to Carpenter’s Wednesday post, the most recent allegation of toxic workplace behavior against Whedon was made by actor Ray Fisher, who accused him last summer of ‘gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable’ while on the set of Justice League in 2017.
The claims also included allegations that Whedon had attempted to digitally alter the complexion of an actor of color in post-production.
‘What set my soul on fire and forced me to speak out about Joss Whedon this summer was my becoming informed that Joss had ordered that the complexion of an actor of color be changed in post-production because he didn’t like the color of their skin tone,’ Fisher told Forbes.
‘Man, with everything 2020’s been, that was the tipping point for me.’
He went on to add that several characters played by actors of color had their roles significantly cut or eliminated altogether.
Whedon has staunchly denied the claims, in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.
‘The individual who offered this statement acknowledged that this was just something that he had heard from someone else and accepted as truth, when in fact simple research would prove that it was false,’ began the director’s statement.
‘As is standard on almost all films, there were numerous people involved with mixing the final product, including the editor, special effects person, composer, etc. with the senior colorist responsible for the final version’s tone, colors, and mood.
‘This process was further complicated on this project by the fact that [original director] Zack [Snyder] shot on film, while Joss shot on digital, which required the team, led by the same senior colorist who has worked on previous films for Zack, to reconcile the two.’
Prior to Carpenter’s Wednesday post, the most recent allegation of toxic workplace behavior against Whedon was made by actor Ray Fisher (center), who accused him of ‘gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable’ on the set of Justice League in 2017
Weeks later, Fisher then revealed that his Victor Stone/Cyborg character (above) had been removed entirely from the upcoming DC Universe movie, The Flash, amid the tensions
Then in October, Fisher revealed that his Victor Stone/Cyborg character had been removed entirely from the upcoming DC Universe movie, The Flash, amid the tensions.
WarnerMedia investigated the claims made by Fisher last year, announcing in December it was taking ‘remedial action’, though declined to offer specifics.
Carpenter said Wednesday that she recently participated in the investigation, ‘because I believe Ray to be a person of integrity who is telling the truth,’ she said.
‘His firing as Cyborg in The Flash was the last straw for me. Although I am not shocked, I am deeply pained by it. It troubles and saddens me that in 2021 professionals STILL have to choose between whistleblowing in the workplace and job security.’