Eliza Dushku Supports Buffy Costar Charisma Carpenter in the Wake of Joss Whedon Allegations
On Wednesday, Charisma Carpenter accused Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon of abusing his power on set
The actress, who starred with Carpenter in the popular WB series, shared an emotional statement in support of her friend on Instagram Thursday.
"CC, my heart aches for you and I'm so sorry you have held this for so long," Dushku, 40, wrote. "Your post was powerful, painful, and painted a picture we'll collectively never un-see or un-know."
Dushku said she hadn't known about Whedon's alleged abuse of power towards Carpenter, who detailed his behavior in a lengthy statement on Twitter Wednesday. Whedon, 56, has not addressed the allegations publicly.
"I frequently think of the saying, 'we are as sick as our secrets,'" Dushku continued. "Our secrets indeed make and keep us sick. What I'm learning more and more — and have personally found most valuable — is that profound healing can only come from naming and disclosing what actually happened, the necessary first step (once someone's ready) to freeing ourselves from our secrets, untold truths which have kept us isolated, ashamed, and held hostage."
Dushku said that failing to name the "power/gender/sexual/racial abuse" that is "epidemic in the entertainment industry" and society in general only enables and emboldens abusers and systems.
The actress concluded, "may you and countless others feel the solidarity and connection you have likely missed for too long. From courage, come change and hope. It starts and will end because of courageous truth-tellers like you. I admire, respect, and love you."
In her post on Wednesday, Carpenter — who played Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer from 1997–1999 and its spin-off series Angel until 2004 — said that Whedon "abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel."
"While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me and alienate me from my peers," she said. "The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer. It is with a beating, heavy heart that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively."
Carpenter, 50, claimed at one point that Whedon asked her if she planned to "keep" her baby after learning she was pregnant — and ultimately fired her shortly after she gave birth.
"He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me the following season once I gave birth," she claimed.
"Back then, I felt powerless and alone," she continued. "With no other option, I swallowed the mistreatment and carried on."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Carpenter's allegations come the year after actor Ray Fisher accused Whedon of being "gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable" while they worked together on Justice League in 2017.
WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation after Fisher's claims, and said when the investigation concluded in December 2020 that "remedial action has been taken."
Carpenter participated in the investigation, and added in her statement that she feels "an overwhelming sense of responsibility to Ray and others for remaining private about my experience with Joss and the suffering it has caused me."
"It is abundantly evident that Joss has persisted in his harmful actions, continuing to create wreckage in his wake," she said.
Fisher, 33, responded to Carpenter's statement on Twitter, calling the actress "one of the bravest people I know."
"I am forever grateful for her courage and for her lending her voice to the Justice League investigation," he said. "Read her truth. Share her truth. Protect her at all costs."