Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Charisma Carpenter, Supported by Fellow Cast Members, Alleges Abuse Against Executive Producer Joss Whedon
On February 10, Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Charisma Carpenter released a statement on her personal Instagram account supporting Ray Fisher’s recent abuse allegation against Joss Whedon on the Justice League set. Carpenter played Cordelia Chase, the blithe Queen Bee of Sunnydale High, for the first three seasons of the show, and later she joined the cast of 1999s’ spinoff series Angel.
In the post, Carpenter states that Whedon abused his power on set and perpetuated an atmosphere of unease. She claims her experience working for him was so profoundly disturbing that it triggered a chronic physical condition that she still suffers to this day. The post goes on to detail a plethora of injudicious incidents that have compelled the actress to come forward so many years later.
“He backed me up against a wall one day, and he was just like, ‘I don’t care how popular you are, kid, you’re dead.”
One incident that stands out for many is when Carpenter was goaded about her pregnancy while on the set of Angel. Not only was she criticized for the inevitable weight gain brought on by this pregnancy, but Whedon threatened to fire her over it time and time again.
He even went as far as to furtively encourage that she have an abortion in a private meeting with the star. A threat to bodily autonomy reminiscent of the horrific practices employed in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Carpenter was eventually fired the following season.
Since the post made headlines, other cast members from the series have come out in support of Carpenter’s allegations. Most notably, Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar made her own post regarding Whedon’s misconduct. Gellar states, “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.” She affirms that she stands with all survivors of abuse and is proud of them for speaking out.
Other cast members to release statements include Amber Benson and Michelle Trachtenberg. Gellar’s statement was shared by Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s kid sister in the latter half of the series. She thanked Gellar for her candor and added that his behavior towards her on the set was “inappropriate.” She later added on to her post, saying that there had to be a rule on set that Joss Whedon “could never again be in a room alone with the actress.” Seeing how the actress joined the series at the young age of fifteen, its implications are especially alarming.
“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 news is hard to stomach for most longtime BtVS fans who are now working to reconcile the empowering fiction that the show still has today with the disheartening reality of its production process. Though the news comes as a shock to many, there have been stories circling around for years now about Whedon’s toxic behavior on set.
James Marsters described one such blow-up where Whedon became physically aggressive with him out of frustration that Marster’s character, the devil-may-care Billy Idol-esque fan favorite Spike, had become so popular. Marsters recalled that “he backed me up against a wall one day, and he was just like, ‘I don’t care how popular you are, kid, you’re dead. You hear me? Dead. Dead!”
Incidences such as this have begun to recirculate in light of the recent allegations.
So far, Joss Whedon has yet to respond to this string of allegations. However, he has been removed from panels at Comic-Con. He has also been replaced as showrunner on his upcoming HBO drama series, The Nevers.
“Access” Story on Allegations