Charisma Carpenter is taking a stake to Joss Whedon’s reputation.
The star of vampire shows Buffy and Angel has spoken out against showrunner/series creator Whedon’s past treatment of her. In two Twitter posts, Carpenter accuses him of firing her for getting pregnant, along with making "passive-aggressive threats," being "casually cruel…mean and disparaging about others," "pitting people" against each other, and calling her "fat" in front of colleagues.
— charisma carpenter (@AllCharisma) February 10, 2021
Following her tweets, Buffy costar Amber Benson, who played Tara, also weighed in, tweeting "Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top."
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 https://t.co/WJAmDGm76C
— Amber Benson (@amber_benson) February 10, 2021
Buffy's leading lady Sarah Michelle Gellar also posted 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. 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 and I’m proud of them for speaking out."
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Michelle Trachtenberg reposted Sarah Michelle Gellar's post on Whedon with the caption: "I am brave enough now as a 35 year old woman....To repost this...This must. Be known. As a teenager. With his not appropriate behavior....very. Not. Appropriate." Trachtenberg later edited her Instagram caption to add: "The last. Comment I will make on this. Was. There was a rule. Saying. He’s not allowed in a room alone with Michelle again."
Whedon was recently called out for mistreatment on the set of Justice League by actor Ray Fisher, who accused the director of racism and fostering a hostile work environment. He tweeted “Joss’ on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.” WarnerMedia then conducted an investigation into Whedon’s behavior on the film’s set, which Carpenter claims she took part in, saying "I believe Ray to be a person of integrity who is telling the truth. His firing as Cyborg in The Flash was the last straw for me."
Carpenter starred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer from 1997 until 1999, when she moved on to become the female lead of the show’s spinoff series, Angel. Fans were confused by her seemingly abrupt departure in 2003, putting an end to her character Cordelia’s burgeoning romance with the lead character, Angel. Cordelia was put in a coma after the actress’ real-life pregnancy was written into the show in a controversial storyline which saw her enter a sexual relationship with Angel’s son, Connor.
At the time, Whedon told TV Guide: “We felt like we had taken that story… about as far as it could go. It just seemed like it was time because we were revamping the show, and then paring it down… it just seemed like a good time for certain people to move on...Some choices are ultimately kind of controversial about who stays and who goes and who we focus on. But obviously, we had to have her out of a bunch of episodes toward the end of the year because she was having a baby... so what we had [leading] up to it wasn't a dynamic I wanted to play out that much." When asked if things were left on good terms with Carpenter, Whedon replied "Yeah, but that's also stuff between us and not stuff that I would talk about in an interview."
At a fan convention in 2009, Carpenter broke her silence about her departure, saying she wasn’t told by Whedon that her character was being written off. “I actually got a phone call from somebody in the press, which really sucked,” Charisma said. "I think Joss was, honestly, mad [I got pregnant]. I think he was mad at me and I say that in a loving way, which is — it’s a very complicated dynamic working for somebody so many years, and expectations, and also being on a show for eight years, you gotta live your life. And sometimes living your life gets in the way of maybe the creator’s vision for the future. And that becomes a conflict, and that was my experience."
She also said that she agreed to come back seasons later for a guest stint as long as her character wasn’t killed off. She said she was promised that wouldn't happen – and then discovered her character would be dying after she arrived on set.