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'Buffy' & 'Angel' actor Charisma Carpenter says Joss Whedon 'abused his power' on set

By Vanessa Armstrong
Charisma Carpenter

Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, came out in support of Ray Fisher today, accusing Joss Whedon of abusive behavior on the sets of the TV series.

“Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter. “While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers.”

Carpenter went on to share how Whedon allegedly pitted people against each other to compete for his attention, that he accused her of sabotaging Angel when she became pregnant, and subsequently fired her from the show the season after she gave birth.

The actor says she decided to go public now because of Ray Fisher speaking out about Whedon’s alleged behavior on the Justice League reshoots. “I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to Ray and others for remaining private about my experience with Joss and the suffering it has caused me,” Carpenter said in her statement. “It is abundantly evident that Joss has persisted in his harmful actions, continuing to create wreckage in his wake. My hope now, by finally coming forward about these experiences, is to create space for the healing of others who I know have experienced similar serialized abuses of power.”

Carpenter also shared that she took part in the WarnerMedia investigation into Whedon after Fisher's allegations, and that she was deeply pained by Fisher's subsequent departure from The Flash. "It troubles and saddens me that in 2021 professionals STILL have to choose between whistleblowing in the workplace and job security," she said. 

After Carpenter released her statement, fellow Buffy actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar (who played Buffy) and Amber Benson (who played Tara) released their own statements. Benson backed Carpenter's claim of a "toxic environment" on the show's set, while Gellar said she stands with all survivors and is proud of those who speak out — but declined to comment further on Whedon.

Later, Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy's younger sister, Dawn Summers on the show, commented on Gellar's post: "Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this. 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. So now. People know. What Joss. Did. ... The last. Comment I will make on this. Was. There was a rule. Saying. He's not allowed in a room alone with Michelle again."

On Thursday, Feb. 11, Buffy alum Eliza Dushku, who played Faith, also voiced her solidarity with Carpenter.

On Friday, Feb. 12,  Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer-producer Marti Noxon tweeted her support for Carpenter, Benson, and Trachtenberg.

​​​​​SYFY WIRE has reached out to Whedon’s representatives for comment.

This story has been updated to include the reactions of Carpenter's co-workers.