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Sarah Michelle Gellar opens up about 'toxic male' set of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer star has broken her silence on her time with the series.

By Matthew Jackson
Sarah Michelle Gellar In "Buffy The Vampire Slayer"

Last year, amid a new wave of allegations of inappropriate behavior aimed at Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, Sarah Michelle Gellar briefly addressed the issue by noting she did not want her name and legacy to be forever linked with Whedon's. At the time, she also said that she wouldn't be making further statements elaborating on those comments, but continued to stand with co-stars including Charisma Carpenter and Michelle Trachtenberg as they spoke out about their time working in the so-called "Whedonverse." Now, Gellar has spoken out again, and while she didn't mention Whedon by name, she's clearly followed up on her past comments about her time with Buffy

Speaking at The Wrap's Power of Women summit earlier this week in Los Angeles, Gellar sought to draw a contrast between the work she's doing now — which includes the upcoming genre series Wolf Pack, in which she both stars and serves as an executive producer — and the work that helped to launch her career back in the 1990s. That meant drawing a clear line to what life was like for her on the Buffy set, and explaining how what she's characterized as a negative work environment impacted her outlook on Hollywood in general.

“For so long, I was on a set that I think was known for being an extremely toxic male set, and so that was ingrained in my head that that was what all sets were like, and that women were pitted against each other — that if women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that down,” Gellar said.

Gellar's comments are the latest in a long line of references to a toxic environment tied to Whedon's working life, first as a TV showrunner and then as a feature film writer and director, going back more than two years. What began with Justice League star Ray Fisher accusing Whedon of 'abusive' behavior during reshoots for the Warner Bros. film has since expanded to include comments from Carpenter, Trachtenberg, and Justice League and Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, who accused Whedon of threatening her career. Whedon has largely denied the allegations.

These days, though Gellar is willing to describe the Buffy set as "toxic," she's also making it clear that working on that show helped give her perspective that has shaped her work since. Now, according to the Buffy and Wolf Pack star, she makes it a priority to create a supportive environment on every set.

“And now that I’ve had this opportunity to work with so many more women and men that support women as well, I realized how easy an experience it can be, but ... unfortunately we’re still in that place where all of those departments a lot of times need to be women for us to have a voice," she said.

Wolf Pack premieres Jan. 26 on Paramount+. 

Looking for more lupine antics? Season 1 of Wolf Like Me is now streaming on Peacock.