Actress Charisma Carpenter, known for portraying Cordelia Chase in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, has voiced her support for Justice League actor Ray Fisher and come forward with her own accusations of abuse and unprofessional behavior against director Joss Whedon.
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“For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day,” wrote Carpenter in the first of two images posted to Twitter on February 10th, captioned “My Truth. #IStandWithRayFisher.” “Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.”
Carpenter further noted that “while he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers. The distributing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer.”
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Fisher’s accusations towards Whedon only further “gutted” Carpenter, as the news made her recall how Whedon “has a history of being casually cruel” and creating “hostile and toxic work environments since his early career.”
According to Carpenter, Whedon made “passive aggressive threats to fire me”, “callously” called her fat “to colleagues when I was 4 months pregnant,” and “was mean and biting, disparaging about others openly, and often played favorites, pitting people against one another to compete and vie for his attention and approval.”
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The actress also alleged that Whedon took issue with her Catholic faith, recalling how the director once “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.”
To that end, Carpenter recalled how Whendon “refused multiple calls from my agents making it impossible to connect with him to tell him the news that I was pregnant.”
She detailed that once the director was “appraised of the situation” he “asked me if I was ‘going to keep it’ and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me.”
Carpenter then claimed that Whedon proceeded “to attack [her] character, mock [her] religious beliefs, accuse [her] of sabotaging the show (as Carpenter was pregnant during the filming of the fourth season of Angel), and then unceremoniously fired [her] the following season once I gave birth.”
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In her second image, the actress explained how “these memories and more have weighed on my soul like bricks for nearly half of my life. I wish I had said something sooner. I wish I had the composure and courage all those years ago. But I muted myself in shame and conditioned silence.”
Carpenter then stated, “with tears welling,” that she felt “an overwhelming sense of responsibility to Ray and others for remaining private about my experience with Joss and the suffering it has caused me.”
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“It is abundantly evident that Joss has persisted in his harmful actions, continuing to create wreckage in his wake,” she added. “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.”
Revealing that she had “participated in WarnerMedia’s Justice League investigation because I believe Ray to be a person of integrity who is telling the truth,” Carpenter revealed that “his firing as Cyborg in The Flash was the last straw for me.”
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“Although I am not shocked,” added Carpenter, “ I am deeply pained by it. It troubles and saddens me that in 2021 professionals STILL have to choose between whistleblowing in the workplace and job security.”
Concluding her statement, Carpenter wrote that “as a single mother whose family’s livelihood is dependent on my craft, I’m scared. Despite my fear about its impact on my future, I can no longer remain silent. This is overdue and necessary. It is time.”
Shortly after the publication of her statement, a number of Carpenter’s Buffy co-stars would take to social media to voice their support for the actress.
Sarah Michelle Gellar, who portrayed the eponymous Buffy Summers, wrote on Instagram that “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.”
“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,” she concluded. “But I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out.”
“Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this. I am brave enough now as a 35 year old woman….To repost this,” wrote Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s younger sister Dawn Summers in the series, alongside an image of Gellar’s original Instagram post. ” Because. This must. Be known. As a teenager. With his not appropriate behavior….very. Not. Appropriate. So now. People know. What Joss. Did.”
Amber Benson, who played Buffy ally Tara Maclay, asserted on Twitter that “Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top.”
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Fisher and Carpenter are not the only actors to have acted under Whedon who have had unpleasant experiences with the director, as in December 2020, Justice League and Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot told the Los Angeles Times, “I had my own experience with [Whedon], which wasn’t the best one, but I took care of it there and when it happened,” while also explaining that she was ““happy for Ray to go up and say his truth.”
Recently, Whedon left the production of his own original HBO-developed series The Nevers.
He claimed at the time “that the level of commitment required moving forward, combined with the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic, is more than I can handle without the work beginning to suffer.”
Fisher conversely claimed that Whedon’s exit was “a result” of WarnerMedia’s Justice League investigation.
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