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Buffy the Vampire Slayer stars Charisma Carpenter and Amber Benson have gone public with on-set misconduct accusations about series creator Joss Whedon.
Charisma Carpenter shared an open letter on Twitter on February 10, where she detailed allegations of Whedon creating a “hostile and toxic” environment while working on both Buffy and spin-off Angel.
Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase, wrote that she came forward following Justice League actor Ray Fisher’s own accusations of misconduct against Whedon 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,” she wrote.
“Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. 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.”
Among the allegations Carpenter makes in her open letter is that Whedon ridiculed her over her pregnancy weight, and once questioned her in a private meeting over whether she would terminate the pregnancy. She was ultimately dropped from the series Angel the season after giving birth.
Digital Spy has reached out to Whedon’s representatives for comment on these new allegations.
Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar responded hours after Carpenter’s post to say that while she is “proud to have [her] name associated with Buffy Summers”, she does not “want to be forever associated with Joss Whedon”.
“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,” she wrote. “But I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out.”
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Carpenter’s co-star Amber Benson, who played Tara on Buffy, replied on Twitter: “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. #IStandWithRayFisher #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter.”
Carpenter also confirmed that she had taken part in the Warner Bros investigation into Whedon’s conduct on the set of Justice League in an attempt to provide background for investigators.
“Recently, I participated in WarnerMedia’s Justice League investigation because I believe Ray to be a person of integrity who is telling the truth,” she wrote. “His firing as Cyborg in The Flash was the last straw for me. 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.
“It has taken me so long to muster the courage to make this statement publicly. The gravity of it is not lost on me. As a single mother whose family’s livelihood is dependent on my craft, I’m scared. Despite my dear about its impact on my future, I can no longer remain silent. This is overdue and necessary. It is time.”
Earlier this year, Warner Bros announced that it was cutting ties with Fisher after he questioned the studio’s investigation.
Fisher and the studio have publicly disagreed over the actor’s level of involvement in what Warner Bros described as an independent inquiry, which concluded in December with “remedial action” being taken.
“I strongly disagree with their decision [to drop me from The Flash], but it’s one that is unsurprising,” Fisher said in December.
Warner Bros commented in response: “Last summer, Mr Fisher was offered the opportunity to reprise his role as Cyborg in The Flash. Given his statement that he will not participate in any film associated with [studio head] Mr Hamada, our production is now moving on.”
Whedon has previously declined to comment on Fisher’s allegations.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov.
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