Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, said that creator Joss Whedon “abused his power” on the sets of both shows.
Carpenter said that “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 said that there were “ongoing passive-aggressive threats to fire me” that damaged her self-esteem. “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 said that Whedon called her “fat” when she was four months pregnant and then fired her after she gave birth. Carpenter played Cordelia on three seasons of Buffy and four seasons of Angel. She was a fan favorite. Her character’s death on Angel was widely criticized by fans.
Sarah Michelle Gellar, the actress who played Buffy Summers, posted a statement on Instagram saying, “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 continued to say, “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 and am proud of them for speaking out.”
Amber Benson, who played Tara Maclay on Buffy, released a tweet supporting Carpenter’s statements. She said that, “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.”
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
Actress Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s sister Dawn, addressed the allegations in an Instagram post. Trachtenberg was 14 years old when she joined the cast of Buffy and was 17 years old during the shows final season.
She said, “Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this. 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. So now. People know. What Joss. Did.”
In the comments Trachtenberg continued, “What he did was very bad. But we win. By surviving!”
Carpenter is not the first to speak out about Whedon’s alleged abusive behaviors. Actor Ray Fisher said Whedon was “abusive” on the set of the 2017 film Justice League. Fisher played the young superhero Cyborg in the DC Comics film.
“Joss Whedon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable,” Fisher tweeted in July.
Fisher confirmed on Jan. 13 through a tweet that he had been removed from the cast of The Flash.