Buffy the Vampire Slayer stars including Sarah Michelle Gellar and Michelle Trachtenberg have publicly expressed support for their former co-star Charisma Carpenter after the actress alleged that series creator Joss Whedon was abusive towards her on the set of the hit TV show.
Carpenter, who played high school cheerleader Cordelia Chase across three seasons of Buffy and five seasons of spin-off series Angel, shared a lengthy statement on Wednesday (10 February) accusing Whedon of "misconduct" and "mistreatment" on set in the wake of similar allegations from actor Ray Carpenter, who worked with Whedon on 2017's Justice League.
Saying she could "no longer be silent" after previously making "excuses for his behaviour", the actress claimed Whedon "abused his power" during the series' run, including "ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire [her", and discriminating against her after she fell pregnant.
The actress claims that when she fell pregnant in 2002, Whedon called her in for a meeting in which he asked whether she was going to "keep it", before describing her as "fat" to colleagues and putting stress on her pregnancy by making her work a late-night shoot as a "retaliatory" measure.
At the time, Carpenter's pregnancy was incorporated into the fourth season of Angel, but the character was put into a coma from which she never woke before being killed off for good in season five.
In her statement, Carpenter claimed that Whedon "unceremoniously fired me the following season once I gave birth."
Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played titular heroine Buffy Summers, shared a statement on Instagram shortly after Carpenter's claims were published stating that she stands with "all survivors of abuse" and is "proud of them for speaking out".
"While I am proud to have my name associated with Buffy Summers, I don't want to forever be associated with name Joss Whedon," wrote the actress, 43.
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Gellar's post was reshared by former co-star Michelle Trachtenberg, who played her on-screen sister Dawn Summers.
Former Gossip Girl star Tratchenburg went on to accuse Whedon of engaging in "inappropriate behaviour" towards her as a teenager, though did not divulge any further information.
“Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this,” Trachtenberg wrote. “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……”
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Later, Trachtenberg added: “What he did was very bad. But we win. By surviving!”
Another female Buffy star to speak out was Amber Benson, who played lesbian witch Tara Maclay from seasons four to six.
"Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top. @AllCharisma is speaking truth and I support her 100%", wrote Benson 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 https://t.co/WJAmDGm76C— Amber Benson (@amber_benson) February 10, 2021
"There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later."
Joss Whedon is yet to comment publicly on the claims made by Carpenter and Trachtenberg.