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‘Buffy’ star Charisma Carpenter accuses show creator Joss Whedon of abuse

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Feb 11, 2021 8:43 am

Writer and director Joss Whedon is being accused of abusive and toxic behavior while on the set of his '90s TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel from stars of the said shows.

Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel, recently came forward with allegations that Whedon “abused his power on numerous occasions” and created a “hostile and toxic work environment” while on the sets of the shows she starred in.

In a lengthy statement she posted across her social media accounts, Carpenter recounted Whedon’s “casually cruel” behavior, including calling her “fat” in front of her colleagues when she was four months pregnant; asking her in a closed-door meeting if she is “going to keep it,” pertaining to her unborn child, and firing her after she gave birth.

“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,” Carpenter said.

Following Carpenter’s statement, Buffy co-star Amber Benson expressed her support and echoed Carpenter’s words in a social media post. “Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top,” Benson said. “There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later.”

Meanwhile, Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played the titular role in the show, released a statement that said, “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.”

“I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out,” Gellar concluded her statement.

Carpenter also said in her statement that she decided to speak out of her own experience of abuse after actor Ray Fisher accused Whedon in July 2020 of “gross abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable behavior” toward the cast and crew during the reshoots of Justice League in 2017, where Whedon was the director.

WarnerMedia launched a five-month investigation and announced in December 2020 that “remedial action” has been taken. In January 2021, Fisher was reportedly dismissed from the cast of the upcoming film The Flash.

Carpenter said she felt an “overwhelming sense of responsibility to Ray and others for remaining private” about her experience with Whedon and the suffering it has caused her. With her move to come forward, Carpenter hopes to “create space for the healing of others who I know have experienced similar serialized abuses of power.”

Whedon has yet to respond to Carpenter's allegations as of press time.