Stars of the hit horror TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer are rallying behind one another after actor Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase, released an emotional, public statement decrying toxic and abusive behavior from Joss Whedon, the series’ creator and showrunner.
Following Carpenter’s statement, other members of the cast including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Amber Benson all voiced support and echoed Carpenter’s sentiments.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel star, Charisma Carpenter released a lengthy, heartfelt statement calling out Joss Whedon on Wednesday.
“For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day,” Carpenter began her statement. “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. 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.”
The statement goes on to say that Whedon would make “passive-aggressive threats to fire” the actor and also comment on her weight in front of her colleagues.
“He was mean and biting, disparaging about other openly, and often played favorites, pitting people against one another to compete and vie for his attention and approval,” her statement alleges.
After learning that Carpenter was pregnant, Whedon asked her if she planned to “keep” her baby, the actor claims. She wrote that she was fired shortly after giving birth following relentless antagonism from the showrunner who ultimately blamed her for “sabotaging the show” because she was pregnant.
“Back then, I felt powerless and alone,” she continued. “With no other option, I swallowed the mistreatment and carried on.”
The star was left with a “chronic physical condition” triggered by the trauma, she claims.
Following the bombshell statement from Carpenter, Buffy costar Sarah Michelle Gellar released a statement of her own.
“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,” Sarah Michelle Gellar wrote in response. “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.”
The short comment from the hero of Buffy herself left no room for doubt that she “stands” with and is “proud” of those who have spoken out. Shortly after posting the message, former costar Michelle Trachtenberg, who portrayed Dawn Summers on Buffy, relayed her support.
“Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this,” Trachtenberg wrote in a post. “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.” Trachtenberg was hired for Buffy at age 15.
Gellar and Trachtenberg were joined by Amber Benson, who played the role of Tara Maclay. She tweeted about Carpenter’s initial statement.
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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
“Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top,” Benson tweeted. “@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.”
Representatives for Whedon have yet to comment.
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