Charisma Carpenter Accuses Joss Whedon of Being Abusive and Harassing on 'Buffy' and 'Angel' Sets
By Desiree Murphy
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Charisma Carpenter is opening up about her experience working with film director Joss Whedon.
In a new statement shared to Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday, the 50-year-old actress claims Whedon was abusive and harassing on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The allegations come nearly two months after Ray Fisher publicly accused Whedon (along with producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg) of misconduct on the Justice League set.
"For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize 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," Carpenter, who portrayed Cordelia Chase on both series, alleges. "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."
"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," her claims continue. "Like his ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire me, which wreaks havoc on a young actor's self-esteem. And callously calling me 'fat' to colleagues when I was 4 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 goes on to allege that when Whedon, 56, first found out she was pregnant, he requested a closed-door meeting with her and asked if she was "going to keep it."
"[He] manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me," she claims. "He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me the following season once I gave birth."
"Back then I went powerless and alone," she adds. "These memories and more have weighed on my soul like bricks for nearly half of my life. 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 conditioned silence."
Carpenter credits Fisher for helping her come forward with her own story.
"As a single mother whose family’s livelihood is dependent on my craft, I’m scared," she says. "Despite my fear about its impact on my future, I can no longer remain silent. This is overdue and necessary. It's time."
Shortly after Carpenter's post went live, her former Buffy co-star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, also released a statement on Instagram.
"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," the 43-year-old actress, who played Buffy in the TV series, wrote. "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," she added, "and am proud of them for speaking out."
Michelle Trachtenberg, who portrayed Buffy's younger sister, Dawn, on the show, reposted Gellar's reaction to Carpenter's allegations along with a message of her own.
"Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this. I am brave enough now as a 35 year old woman.... To repost this," she wrote. "Because. This must. Be known. As a teenager. With his not appropriate behavior...."
ET has reached out to Whedon's rep for comment.
As ET previously reported, Fisher, who played Victor Stone aka Cyborg in Justice League, first spoke out last July, accusing Whedon of "abusive, unprofessional" behavior while on set of the superhero film. He also alleged that Whedon was "enabled, in many ways" by Johns and Berg. Whedon and Johns declined to comment, while Berg said in a statement to Variety at the time that it was "categorically untrue that we enabled any unprofessional behavior."
The allegations led to an investigation by WarnerMedia, which was concluded back in December. "Remedial action has been taken," WarnerMedia said in a statement at the time. No further details were provided.
There are still conversations that need to be had and resolutions that need to be found.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement on this journey.
On Dec. 11, 2020, Fisher tweeted, "The following was relayed to me on behalf of @WarnerMedia at 5pm EST today: The investigation of Justice League is now complete. It has lead to remedial action. (Some we’ve seen, and some that is still to come.)"
"And this statement (which truly belongs to ALL who participated in the investigation): 'WarnerMedia appreciates you having the courage to come forward and assist the company with creating an inclusive and equitable work environment for it’s employees and partners,'" he continued. "There are still conversations that need to be had and resolutions that need to be found. Thank you all for your support and encouragement on this journey. We are on our way. More soon."