Stars from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are speaking out after their co-star, Charisma Carpenter, alleged via social media on Wednesday that creator Joss Whedon was abusive and harassing on the set of their TV series. The allegations come nearly two months after Ray Fisher publicly accused Whedon (along with producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg) of misconduct on the Justice League set.
Eliza Dushku, who played slayer Faith on both Buffy and Angel, is the latest of Carpenter’s co-stars to speak out. “CC, my heart aches for you & I’m so sorry you have held this for so long,” Dushku wrote in part. “Your post was powerful, painful, and painted a picture we’ll collectively never un-see or un-know. Thank you. I hadn’t known it and I won’t forget it.”
The actress concluded her lengthy post, writing, “May you and countless others feel the solidarity and connection you have likely missed for too long. From courage, come change and hope. It starts and will end because of courageous truth-tellers like you. I admire, respect, and love you.”
A post shared by Official Eliza Dushku (@elizadushku)
A few days prior, Sarah Michelle Gellar, who portrayed the lead role of Buffy, responded to Carpenter’s claims. “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,” she wrote on Instagram. “I am more focused on raising my family and surviving a pandemic currently, so I will not be making any further statements at this time.”
“But I stand with all survivors of abuse,” she added, “And am proud of them for speaking out.”
A post shared by Sarah Michelle (@sarahmgellar)
Michelle Trachtenberg, who portrayed Buffy’s younger sister, Dawn Summers, on the show, reposted Gellar’s message to her own Instagram. “Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this. I am brave enough now as a 35 year old woman…. To repost this,” she captioned it. “Because. This must. Be known. As a teenager. [This is] not appropriate behavior….very. Not. Appropriate.”
“We know what he did. Behind. The. Scenes,” she added, in a post shared to Instagram Stories.
Days later, she shared her own experience on set. “The last. Comment I will make on this. Was. There was a rule. Saying. He’s not allowed in a room alone with Michelle again,” Trachtenberg wrote.
Like Carpenter alleged in her own statement (which you can read in full here), Amber Benson also claimed via Twitter on Wednesday that the Buffy set was “a toxic environment.”
“@AllCharisma is speaking truth and I support her 100%,” the actress, who played Tara Maclay, wrote. “There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later. #IStandWithRayFisher #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter.”
Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top. @AllCharisma 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. #IStandWithRayFisher#IStandWithCharismaCarpenterhttps://t.co/WJAmDGm76C
Additionally, Clare Kramer, who played Glory on the show, tweeted, “For what it’s worth, I believe and stand with @allcharisma, @ray8fisher, @amber_benson and others who have the strength to come forward with their truth. A lot of this industry needs a reset….. #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter #IStandWithRayFisher.”
For what it’s worth, I believe and stand with @allcharisma, @ray8fisher, @amber_benson and others who have the strength to come forward with their truth. A lot of this industry needs a reset….. #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter#IStandWithRayFisher
Meanwhile, Anthony Head, who played Buffy’s watcher Giles for all seven seasons of the hit series, said he was unaware that his co-stars felt this way about Whedon during the filming of Buffy.
“I’ve been up most of the night just running through my memories thinking, ‘What did I miss?'” he said on ITV’s This Morning, referencing the bags under his eyes. “And this is not a man saying, ‘I didn’t see it, so it didn’t happen.’ It’s just, I am gutted, I’m seriously gutted, because one of my memories, my fondest memories of Buffy, was the fact that it was so empowering, not just in the words of the script, but the family feel of the show.”
Head added that he’s very upset that his co-stars, who have publicly shared their negative experiences with Whedon, wouldn’t have come to him at the time.
“I’m really sad if people went through these experiences that they didn’t… I was a sort of like a father figure and I would hope that someone would come to me and say, ‘I’m struggling’ or ‘I just had a horrible conversation,'” Head said. “Admittedly the first post by Charisma was when she was working on Angel and I was long gone, but there are other posts subsequently that are making me think, ‘How on earth did I not know this was going on?'”
Whedon’s TV version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran from 1997-2003 and also featured Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, James Marsters, David Boreanaz, Seth Green and Emma Caulfield. Carpenter alleged in her statement that Whedon expressed the same abusive and harassing behavior on the set of the show’s spinoff series, Angel.
“For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day. Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel,” Carpenter, who portrayed Cordelia Chase on both series, alleges. “While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers. The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer. It is with a beating, heavy heart that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively.”
“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,” her claims continue. “Like his ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire me, which wreaks havoc on a young actor’s self-esteem. And callously calling me ‘fat’ to colleagues when I was 4 months pregnant, weighing 126 lbs. 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.”
ET has reached out to Whedon’s rep for comment.
A post shared by CHARISMA CARPENTER⚡️ (@karazma)
As ET previously reported, Fisher, who played Victor Stone aka Cyborg in Justice League, first spoke out last July, accusing Whedon of “abusive, unprofessional” behavior while on set of the superhero film. He also alleged that Whedon was “enabled, in many ways” by Johns and Berg. Whedon and Johns declined to comment, while Berg said in a statement to Variety at the time that it was “categorically untrue that we enabled any unprofessional behavior.”
The allegations led to an investigation by WarnerMedia, which was concluded back in December. “Remedial action has been taken,” WarnerMedia said in a statement at the time. No further details were provided.
On Dec. 11, 2020, Fisher tweeted, “The following was relayed to me on behalf of @WarnerMedia at 5pm EST today: The investigation of Justice League is now complete. It has lead to remedial action. (Some we’ve seen, and some that is still to come.)”
“And this statement (which truly belongs to ALL who participated in the investigation): ‘WarnerMedia appreciates you having the courage to come forward and assist the company with creating an inclusive and equitable work environment for it’s employees and partners,'” he continued. “There are still conversations that need to be had and resolutions that need to be found. Thank you all for your support and encouragement on this journey. We are on our way. More soon.”
Fisher also applauded Carpenter on Wednesday, tweeting, “Charisma Carpenter is one of the bravest people I know.”
“I am forever grateful for her courage and for her lending her voice to the Justice League investigation,” he continued. “Read her truth. Share her truth. Protect her at all costs. ‘It is time.'”
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