Buffy the Vampire Slayer stars call out Joss Whedon over toxic work environments

In light of 'Justice League' actor Ray Fisher's allegations against Joss Whedon, Charisma Carpenter called out the director for his appalling behaviour on set.

A split screen between Joss Whedon and Charisma Carpenter

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and spin-off show Angel, star Charisma Carpenter has accused director Joss Whedon of “serialised abuses of power.” She was soon joined by other members of the cast with their own reports of toxic behaviour.

Under the hashtag I Stand with Ray Fisher, Carpenter spoke out against Whedon for allegedly creating “hostile and toxic work environments” while filming Buffy and Angel. Behind the scenes of her role as Cordelia Chase, she detailed that the showrunner would make “ongoing, passive-aggressive threats” to fire her as well as call her “fat” when she was four months pregnant.

On Twitter, Carpenter wrote, “For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatise me to this day. 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.”

“Last summer, when Ray Fisher publicly accused Joss of abusive and unprofessional behaviour toward the cast and crew during reshoots on the Justice League set in 2017, it gutted me. 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,” Carpenter further stated. 

In July 2020, actor Ray Fisher accused Joss Whedon of “gross, abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable” behaviour on set for Justice League. His accusations resulted in multiple investigations, which concluded in early December 2020 with WarnerMedia stating that “remedial action” had been taken.

Following Carpenter’s statement against Whedon, Fisher wrote on Twitter that he was “forever grateful” that she spoke out about her experience. He stated, “Read her truth. Share her truth. Protect her at all costs. ‘It is time’.”

Carpenter notes that Fisher’s departure from the role of Cyborg was the “last straw.” She wrote, “Although I am not shocked, I am deeply pained by it. It troubles and saddens me that in 2021 professionals still have to choose between whistleblowing in the workplace and job security.”

In her statement, Carpenter further writes, “It is impossible to understand the psyche without enduring the abuse. Our society and industry vilify the victims and glorify the abusers for their accomplishments. The onus is on the abused with an expectation to accept and adapt to be employable. No accountability on the transgressor who sails on unscathed. Unrepentant. Remorseless,” Carpenter further states. 

Numerous Buffy stars are showing their support for the actress across social media. In an Instagram post, Sarah Michelle Gellar wrote, “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.” Michelle Trachtenberg, who starred as Buffy’s younger sister, Dawn, also called out Whedon for his abusive behaviour.

Amber Benson, who played Tara, responded to the accusations by writing, “Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top. Charisma Carpenter 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.” 

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