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Charisma Carpenter accuses Joss Whedon of abusing his power on ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ sets

Over the summer, “Justice League” actor Ray Fisher claimed Whedon, who directed the 2017 superhero film, was abusive of the cast and crew on set.
Credit: AP
In this combination photo, Charisma Carpenter, from left, attends the 6th annual Thirst Gala on June 30, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif., Sarah Michelle Gellar arrives at Jingle Ball on Dec. 6, 2019, in Inglewood, Calif., and Joss Whedon arrives at the premiere of "Bad Times at the El Royale" on Sept. 22, 2018, in Los Angeles. Whedon, the prominent film and TV creator who faced a claim of abusive behavior on the set of “Justice League,” drew criticism Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, from actors who worked with him on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” including Gellar and Carpenter. Whedon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. (AP Photo)

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” actress Charisma Carpenter is speaking out in support of actor Ray Fisher, detailing her own on-set experiences with show creator Joss Whedon.

Over the summer, the “Justice League” actor claimed Whedon, who directed the 2017 superhero film, was abusive of the cast and crew on-set.

Carpenter said hearing Fisher come forth with his claims “gutted” her.

“Joss has a history of being casually cruel,” she wrote in a post on Twitter Wednesday. “He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly."

Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase on the hit series and eventual spinoff, shared what she called her truth about working with Whedon, claiming Whedon “abused his power on numerous occasions” while on set. 

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

She says while Whedon “found his misconduct amusing,” his actions intensified her performance anxiety, disempowered her, and alienated her from her peers.

Carpenter says the “disturbing incidents” triggered a chronic physical condition she still suffers from.

Specifically, she says Whedon made ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire her, and “callously” called her fat to colleagues when she was four months pregnant. She claims in a closed-door meeting, Whedon asked her if she was “going to keep it,” referencing her baby.

“[He] manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me,” she said. “He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me following the season once I gave birth.”

Buffy herself, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, broke her silence on the matter Wednesday with an Instagram post. She did not confirm or deny the allegations but said she stands with the survivors. 

"While I am proud to have my name associated with Buffy Summers, I don't want to be forever associated with the ane Joss Whedon," Gellar wrote. "I am more focused on raising a 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."

Comments on her post are turned off.

Credit: via Instagram

Costar Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy's sister Dawn, also weighed in Wednesday night on Instagram, seemingly acknowledging the allegations to be true, saying:

"Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this. 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. So now. People know. What Joss. Did."

And actress Amber Benson, who played Tara on "Buffy," chimed in on Twitter in support, also claiming the "Buffy" set was a toxic environment.

"[Carpenter] is speaking truth and I support her 100%," Benson said. "There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later."

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

Carpenter said she feels an "overwhelming sense of responsibility to Ray and others to be a person of integrity who is telling the truth." She says she hopes by coming forward she will help create space for healing of others "who I know have experienced similar serialized abuses of power."

Warner Bros. investigated Fisher's claims, which concluded with "remedial action," but no specifics were given as to what actions were taken. In November, Whedon exited his HBO series "The Nevers." Whedon was the set to be the show's writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner, according to Variety

Carpenter said she participated in WarnerMedia's investigation.

"[Ray's] firing as Cyborg in The Flash was the last straw for me," she said. "Although I am not shocked, I am deeply pained by it."

Carpenter said she's scared about making her accusations public, but "despite my fear about its impact on my future, I can no longer remain silent."

"This is overdue and necessary. It is time."

Fisher shared Carperter's Tweet, saying she's "one of the bravest people" he knows.

"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," he said. 

Whedon has not addressed the new allegations.

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