Charisma Carpenter, best known for playing Cordelia Chase on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and spinoff series “Angel,” has issued a statement on social media accusing Joss Whedon of abusing his power while working on the sets of these television series. A representative for Whedon declined to comment. Whedon created “Buffy,” which ran for seven seasons on The WB and UPN, and co-created “Angel.” Carpenter was a series regular on the first three seasons of “Buffy” before jumping to “Angel” as a series regular for four of the spinoff’s five seasons.
“Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working on the sets of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel,'” Carpenter writes in her statement posted on Twitter. “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.”
According to Carpenter’s statement, Whedon “has a history of being casually cruel” and “created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career.” The actress adds, “I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly.”
Carpenter came forward with her own statement to support Ray Fisher, who last year accused Joss Whedon of unprofessional behavior during the reshoots of Warner Bros.’ comic book tentpole “Justice League.” Fisher’s allegations prompted WarnerMedia to launch an investigation that was closed in December. At the end of November, Whedon announced he was exiting his new HBO drama series “The Nevers.” WarnerMedia is also HBO’s parent company. Fisher confirmed in January his appearance in “The Flash” had been written out following the investigation.
“Recently, I participated in WarnerMedia’s Justice League investigation because I believe Ray to be a person of integrity who is telling the truth,” Carpenter writes at the end of her statement. “His firing as Cyborg in the flash was the last straw for me.”
Earlier in the statement, Carpenter describes some of Whedon’s misconduct on the sets of “Buffy” and “Angel.” The actress writes, “Like his ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire me, which wreak havoc on a young actor’s self esteem. And callously calling me ‘fat’ to my colleagues when I was [four] 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.”
Carpenter writes later on, “At six months pregnant, I was asked to report to work at 1:00am after my doctor recommended shortening my work hours. Due to long and physically demanding days and the emotional stress of having to defend my needs as a working pregnant woman, I began to experience Braxton Hicks contractions. It was clear to me the 1:00am call was retaliatory.”
Sarah Michelle Gellar issues her own statement following Carpenter’s social media post, writing, “While I am proud to have my name associated with Buffy Summers, I don’t want to forever be associated with Joss Whedon. 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 the survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out.”
Fellow “Buffy” co-star Michelle Trachtenberg posted on her Instagram story (via Variety): “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……What he did was very bad. But we win. By surviving!”
Read Carpenter’s full statement about Joss Whedon in the posts below.
— charisma carpenter (@AllCharisma) February 10, 2021
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.
Read her truth.
Share her truth.
Protect her at all costs.
“It is time.”
— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) February 10, 2021
Sarah Michelle Gellar pic.twitter.com/2vxz8jpiLI
— Kelly Lawler (@klawls) February 10, 2021