Charisma Carpenter, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and three other actors of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer accused the show’s creator, Joss Whedon, of bullying and abuse of power.
One of the first allegations came from Carpenter, who on Wednesday said in a statement that Whedon has a “history of creating toxic and hostile work environments”, including the one she experienced on the sets of Buffy and while she was pregnant.
“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 severed to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers,” wrote Carpenter on Twitter.
Carpenter claimed that Whedon had called her fat when she was four months pregnant and pitted cast members against one another. She also said that Whedon “unceremoniously” fired her the following season, after she’d given birth.
The actor was a series regular on The WB Network’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She was also the female lead on Angel, a spinoff of Buffy.
Following Carpenter’s statement, Gellar, who played the titular character Buffy Summers from 1997 to 2003, also wrote in an Instagram post that she does not want to be “forever associated with the name Joss Whedon”.
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Saying that she won’t be making any more statements, Gellar wrote, “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, reposted Gellar’s statement and accused Whedon of “very not appropriate behavior”.
Another actor from the show, Amber Benson, who played Tara Maclay, wrote on Twitter that Buffy “was a toxic environment”. “There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later,” she wrote.
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 #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter https://t.co/WJAmDGm76C
— Amber Benson (@amber_benson) February 10, 2021
Emma Caulfield, another actor of the show, showed her solidarity by sharing Gellar’s post on Instagram.
Carpenter said she had decided to speak out to show solidarity with actor Ray Fisher. In July 2020, Fisher accused Whedon of “abuse” and “unacceptable behavior” while on the set of Justice League in 2017.
“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,” Carpenter wrote.
“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,” she added.
Sharing Carpenter’s statement, Fisher wrote, “I am forever grateful for her courage and for her lending her voice to the Justice League investigation.”
Fisher, who was cast as the character Cyborg in Justice League, had alleged that Whedon’s behaviour toward the cast and crew was “abusive, unprofessional and unacceptable”.
Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.
He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.A D V E R T I S E M E N T
— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) July 1, 2020
“He was enabled, in many ways, by [producers] Geoff Johns and Jon Berg,” Fisher had tweeted. Whedon had overseen the reshoots, editing, and visual effects on Justice League for director Zack Snyder, who had stepped aside after the death of his daughter.
What followed after Fisher’s allegations was a back and forth between the actor and Warner Bros. Studio. While Fisher kept tweeting about it, WB issued a statement which said, “Warner Bros. remains committed to accountability and to the well-being of every cast and crew member on each of its productions.”
“It also remains committed to investigating any specific and credible allegation of misconduct, which thus far Mr. Fisher has failed to provide,” the statement added.
Fisher’s costar Jason Momoa came forward in September 2020 to defend the actor and wrote on Instagram “Serious stuff went down” during Justice League‘s reshoots and that “it needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable”.
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On December 11, WarnerMedia announced it had completed the investigation and had taken “remedial action”.