Sarah Michelle Gellar Speaks Out After Buffy's Charisma Carpenter Accuses Joss Whedon of Abuse
Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played the titular character on Buffy, said she stands "with all survivors of abuse"
On Wednesday, Charisma Carpenter publicly accused Whedon of abusing his power and creating a "hostile and toxic" work environment on the set of Buffy and its spinoff, Angels.
When contacted by PEOPLE, reps for Whedon did not have a comment at this time.
"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," wrote Gellar, 43. "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. But I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out."
Amber Benson, who played recurring character Tara Maclay on Buffy, tweeted her support for Carpenter, praising the actress for "speaking her truth."
"Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top," wrote Benson, 44. "@AllCharisma is speaking truth and I support her 100%. There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later."
Carpenter, 50, played Cordelia Chase on Buffy from 1997–1999, followed by Angel until 2004. In a lengthy statement posted on social media Wednesday, she accused Whedon, 56, of making repeated threats to fire her and efforts to "alienate" her from her peers, as well as placing added work stress on her while she was pregnant.
"For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day," Carpenter began. "Joss 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. The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer. It is with a beating, heavy heard that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively."
During one alleged instance, Carpenter claimed Whedon asked her if she planned to "keep" her baby after learning she was pregnant. She also claimed he "callously" called her "fat" to colleagues during her pregnancy.
"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 alleged.
Carpenter said she felt empowered to speak out after actor Ray Fisher came forward with allegations against Whedon last year, claiming the director "was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable" while they worked together on Justice League in 2017. Fisher's claims prompted an internal investigation, which concluded in December 2020. WarnerMedia said at the time that "remedial action has been taken."
"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 wrote, adding that she participated in the investigation into the filmmaker. "It is abundantly evident that Joss has persisted in his harmful actions, continuing to create wreckage in his wake."
The actress said that she hopes to "create a space for healing" by coming forward with her own story. Fisher, 33, responded on Twitter, calling Carpenter "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. Read her truth. Share her truth. Protect her at all costs."