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SYFY WIRE Buffy the Vampire Slayer

On Buffy’s birthday, in wake of Whedon comments, Sarah Michelle Gellar vows to ‘fight for the future’

As Buffy turns 41, Gellar looks forward instead of back

By Benjamin Bullard
Sarah Michelle Gellar

It’s birthday week for Buffy Summers, which means it’s time once again for Saraha Michelle Gellar to give fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer her annual Buffy birthday shoutout on social media.

This year, though, the star of the iconic Joss Whedon-created series appears to be offering a nod of support to former fellow cast members who’ve called attention to what they say was inappropriate and abusive on-set behavior from the creator during the series’ 1997-2003 run.

Taking to Instagram on Jan. 19 — which in Buffy lore marks the birthday girl’s big day (she’s turning 41 this year) — Gellar posted a selfie accompanied by a brief caption: "I can't take back the past, but I can fight for the future.”

Gellar didn’t elaborate on that brief but high-impact statement. But for fans who’ve been following the ongoing saga of accusations against Whedon from former Buffy cast members (as well as more recent complaints from Justice League stars Ray Fisher and Gal Gadot), there’s likely no need to say more.

Gellar’s post comes only days after Whedon broke his long-maintained silence by discussing the misconduct maelstrom in a far-ranging profile in New York Magazine. His remarks in that article, which tended toward self-defense while partially admitting to some behavioral indiscretions from his Buffy days, elicited strong pushback from former Buffy and Angel star Charisma Carpenter, who said the creator is “unable to be accountable and just apologize.”

Gellar has weighed in before to support her costars, though she’s largely done so from a distance — all the better, at least it seems, to put distance between Whedon and her own acting legacy. “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 in an Instagram post last February. “…I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out.”

Alongside Justice League cast members’ more recent allegations against Whedon of unprofessional treatment, past Buffy and Angel stars including Carpenter, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Amber Benson have united in blaming Whedon for allegedly creating a “toxic” working environment on the Buffy set. Carpenter accused Whedon of demeaning her for becoming pregnant during the filming of Angel, while Trachtenberg said in an Instagram post last year that “There was a rule” on the Buffy set that Whedon was “not allowed in a room alone with Michelle again” in the wake of an alleged unspecified incident.

In the New York Magazine profile this week, Whedon admitted to broader allegations of extramarital affairs during his time at the helm of Buffy and Angel. But he also denied Carpenter’s accusation that he’d flatly called her “fat” because of her pregnancy, admitting only that his behavior toward her, at times, “was not mannerly.”