Charisma Carpenter Calls Out Joss Whedon's "Harassment," Buffy Cast Responds

Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, has spoken out against Joss Whedon's treatment of her while making those shows.


Charisma Carpenter, who is best known for her role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, is speaking out about the show's creator, Joss Whedon, for the first time, alleging he "abused his power on numerous occasions." Her comments are a direct response to Justice League star Ray Fisher, who has been very vocal about his alleged treatment by Whedon on that movie's set, and the investigation that followed.

The allegations came in the form of two tweets from the actress, who played Cordelia Chase on both shows. In the tweets, Carpenter reveals she took part in WarnerMedia's investigation into Whedon's behavior. "I participated in WarnerMedia's Justice League investigation because I believe Ray to be a person of integrity who is telling his truth," she tweeted. "His firing as Cyborg in The Flash was the last straw for me. Although I am not shocked, I am deeply pained by it."

As for her own treatment by Whedon, Carpenter said the experience still impacts her. "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. While he found his misconduct amusing, it only serves 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's allegations largely center around her first pregnancy, while a member of the Angel cast. She claims Whedon once called her into a closed-door meeting to ask if she was "going to keep it" and called her "fat" in front of colleagues. He also, according to Carpenter, "proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me the following season once I gave birth."

The actress also explained why she didn't stand up for herself at the time. "Back then, I felt powerless and alone," she wrote. "With no other option, I swallowed the mistreatment and carried on. After all, I had a baby on the way and was the primary breadwinner of my growing family."

She also admits to making excuses for his behavior. "Despite the harassment, a part of me still sought his validation," she said.

Shortly after Carpenter's statement, members of the Buffy cast quickly responded on social media. Amber Benson, who played Tara on the series, wrote, "Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top. [Charisma Carpenter] 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."

Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, also responded to the allegations 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," she wrote. "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 am proud of them for speaking out."

Michelle Trachtenberg reposted Gellar's comments, adding, "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....very. Not. Appropriate."

Lastly, Fisher, too, reacted to Carpenter's statement, writing, "Charisma Carpenter is one of the bravest people I know. I am forever grateful for her courage and for her lending her voice to the Justice League investigation. Read her truth. Share her truth. Protect her at all costs."

The investigation Carpenter took part in was closed on December 11, with WarnerMedia saying "remedial action" had been taken. In late November, Whedon exited the HBO series he was set to serve as showrunner on, The Nevers. Meanwhile, Fisher will be seen once more as Cyborg in Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League, which arrived on HBO Max in March. He was originally slated to play a role in The Flash standalone film but revealed in January that he'd been written out of the project.

Image credit: Getty Images/John Sciulli/Stringer

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