An actress on the 1990’s cult favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer has accused creator Joss Whedon of being “casually cruel” and denigrating her Catholic beliefs after her pregnancy while filming the Buffy spinoff Angel.
Charisma Carpenter portrayed Cordelia Chase on Buffy from 1997–1999, before moving to Angel from 1999–2004.
Whedon came under fire from actor Ray Fisher, who claimed last year that the director of “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” behavior while filming Justice League, which was released in 2017. Fisher played the character Cyborg in the DC Universe superhero film.
In a message posted to her Twitter and Instagram accounts, Carpenter said she was “gutted” when she heard Fisher’s accusation.
“Joss has a history of being causally cruel. He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly,” she writes.
Carpenter said she felt an “overwhelming sense of responsibility” to Fisher and others due to her silence about the treatment she alleges she received from Whedon.
She alleges Whedon called her “fat” when she was pregnant, and asked to meet her about her pregnancy.
“In that closed-door meeting, he asked me if I was ‘going to keep it,’ and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me. He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me following the season once I gave birth,” she writes.
The actress also said that she was forced to show up to work at 1:00 a.m. while six months pregnant, which she claims was “retaliatory.”
Carpenter is Catholic and attended Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.
“[Whedon] called me in for a sit-down meeting to interrogate and berate me regarding a rosary tattoo I got to help me feel more spiritually grounded in an increasingly volatile work climate that affected me physically,” she alleges.
Carpenter said it took years of therapy for her to “understand the complexities of [the] demoralized thinking” that led her to seek Whedon’s validation despite the harassment.
“It is impossible to understand the psyche without enduring the abuse. Our society and industry vilify the victims and glorify the abusers for their accomplishments. The onus is on the abused with an expectation to accept and adapt to be employable. No accountability on the transgressor who sails on unscathed. Unrepentant. Remorseless,” she writes.
Carpenter is not the only Buffyverse actress to accuse Whedon of creating a hostile work environment.
“Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top. [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,” Amber Benson, who played the character Tara, tweeted.
Michelle Trachtenberg, who joined the cast as Dawn at the age of 15, also called out Whedon on social media.
“This must. Be known. As a teenager. With his not appropriate behavior….very. Not. Appropriate,” she writes.
“We know what he did … Behind. The. Scenes,” she added.
Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy Summers in the series, wrote on Instagram that although she was “proud” to be associated with title character, she doesn’t “want to be forever associated with name Joss Whedon.”
“I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out,” she writes.
Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome