Charisma Carpenter accuses Joss Whedon of 'toxic' behaviour on Buffy and Angel sets

Buffy cast members, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, have also spoken out in support of Carpenter.

Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
3 min read

Many of Buffy's stars have come out in support of Carpenter.

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Actress Charisma Carpenter has released a statement accusing Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, of "toxic" behavior on the sets of both shows.

Carpenter released her statement Wednesday on social media in support of Justice League actor Ray Fisher, who has also spoken out against Whedon since working with the director on reshoots of the 2017 film. Carpenter explained that she participated in WarnerMedia's investigation into Whedon and called the director "casually cruel".

Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase on Buffy and its spinoff Angel, alleged Whedon "abused his power" on set while they worked together and that he created "hostile and toxic work environments". She said his behavior "triggered a chronic physical condition" from which she still suffers.

Carpenter also alleged that Whedon made "ongoing" threats to fire her and called her "fat" to colleagues when she was pregnant. Carpenter accused Whedon of firing her from Angel after she gave birth, which fans have speculated about for years.

"These memories and more have weighed on my soul like bricks for nearly half of my life," Carpenter wrote. "I wish I said something sooner. I wish I had the composure and courage all those years ago. But I muted myself in shame and conditional silence."

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy for seven years, and cast members Amber Benson and Michelle Tratchenberg, have all since spoken out in support of Carpenter.

"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," Gellar said in a statement posted to Instagram.

Benson, who was on the show for two seasons, tweeted: "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."

Tratchenberg, who played Buffy's younger sister for three seasons, shared Gellar's post on social media and wrote: "We know what he did. Behind. The. Scenes."

Fisher shared Carpenter's statement to his social media and wrote: "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.'"

In 2020, Fisher accused Whedon of misconduct on reshoots of 2017 ensemble film Justice League. Joss Whedon completed the film after Zack Snyder was forced to leave due to a family tragedy. In January, Fisher accused DC Films and Warner Bros. president Walter Hamada of undermining WarnerMedia's investigation into Whedon.

Fisher will reprise his role in Zack Synder's Justice League, but in January claimed he had been removed from upcoming The Flash due to his accusations against Whedon and Hamada.

Carpenter said that, despite being "scared" to speak out, she felt an "overwhelming sense of responsibility" to Fisher and others to speak publicly.

"It is abundantly evident that Joss has persisted in his harmful actions, continuing to create wreckage in his wake," Carpenter said. "My hope now, by finally coming forward about these experiences, is to create space for the healing of others who I know have experienced similar serialized abuses of power."

Representatives of Joss Whedon didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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