'Buffy' star Charisma Carpenter says Joss Whedon 'abused his power' on set

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'Buffy' star Charisma Carpenter says Joss Whedon 'abused his power' on set
Charisma Carpenter.20th Television
  • Carpenter claims in a statement that Whedon "abused his power" on set.
  • She said that when he learned she was pregnant, he asked her if she was "going to keep it."
  • Carpenter said she was part of WarnerMedia's investigation of Whedon's behavior on "Justice League."

On Wednesday, former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" star Charisma Carpenter took to her social media with a lengthy statement claiming that Joss Whedon, who created "Buffy" and was a co-creator of the spin-off series "Angel," abused his powers while working on both shows in the late 1990s.

"Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working on the sets of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel,'" Carpenter wrote in her statement. "While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers. 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."

Carpenter noted that for nearly two decades she held her tongue and "even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day." She said that Ray Fisher speaking out about Whedon's behavior while directing reshoots on the movie "Justice League" motivated her to also come out with her experience with Whedon.

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Looking back on her experience, the actress said, "the disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer."

'Buffy' star Charisma Carpenter says Joss Whedon 'abused his power' on set
Joss Whedon.Michael Tullberg/Getty

"Like his ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire me, which wreak havoc on a young actor's self-esteem," Carpenter wrote. "And callously calling me 'fat' to my colleagues when I was 4 months pregnant, weighing 126 lbs. He was mean and biting, disparaging about others openly, and often played favorites, pitting people against one another to compete and vie for his attention and approval."

Carpenter went on to give details about her experience with Whedon once she told him that she was pregnant.

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"In that closed door meeting, he asked me if I was 'going to keep it' and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me."

"At six months pregnant, I was asked to report to work at 1:00am after my doctor recommended shortening my work hours," she continued. "Due to long and physically demanding days and the emotional stress of having to defend my needs as a working pregnant woman, I began to experience Braxton Hicks contractions. It was clear to me the 1:00am call was retaliatory."

Insider reached out to Whedon's rep for comment, but did not get a response. Read Carpenter's complete statement below:

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Carpenter's statement comes after "Justice League" star Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg, spoke out last year against Whedon's treatment of the cast and crew on the movie saying it was "gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable."

His co-star, Jason Momoa, who plays Aquaman, has since stood by Fisher's claims, saying in an Instagram post that the cast was treated "s---ty" during reshoots. Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman, also has said that her experience with Whedon "wasn't the best."

Since Carpenter released her statement, she has received support from her "Buffy" costar Amber Benson who tweeted that the show had a "toxic environment."

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"There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later."

Soon after that, "Buffy" star Sarah Michelle Gellar posted on her Istagram a statment in which she's proud to have her name associated with Buffy Summers, the lead character she played on the series, but "I don't want to be forever associated with the name Joss Whedon."

A post shared by Sarah Michelle (@sarahmgellar)

Carpenter noted in her statement that she took part in the WarnerMedia "Justice League" investigation that followed Fisher's comments.

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The investigation recently wrapped with no details given on what it concluded outside of "remedial action." Since then Fisher has stated that he's been fired from the upcoming "The Flash" movie. Carpenter said that was "the last straw" for her.

"Although I am not shocked, I am deeply pained by it," she said in her statement about Fisher's termination. "It troubles and saddens me that in 2021 professionals STILL have to choose between whistleblowing in the work place and job security."

Fisher tweeted support for Carpenter after poster her statement: "Charisma Carpenter is one of the bravest people I know."

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