Actor Charisma Carpenter Accused Joss Whedon Of Being Abusive To Her On The Sets Of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" And "Angel"
"Joss has a history of being casually cruel," Carpenter said in tweets on Wednesday.
Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, accused series creator Joss Whedon of being abusive to her on the sets of the iconic TV shows, specifically while she was pregnant.
The actor tweeted a statement Wednesday, alleging that Whedon had "abused his power on numerous occasions" and created a "hostile and toxic work environment" while she worked with him on Buffy and Angel.
Whedon's representatives did not respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.
She alleged that Whedon had called her "fat" to colleagues when she was 4 months pregnant, asked her if she was "going to keep it," and then fired her after she gave birth.
"Joss has a history of being casually cruel," Carpenter said. "While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers."
She said that the "disturbing incidents" triggered a "chronic physical condition" that she still lives with. She said she coped with it in isolation and "at times, destructively."
Carpenter's complex and nuanced role as Cordelia on three seasons of Buffy and four of Angel made her a fan favorite. Her character's death on Angel was widely criticized by fans of the teen dramas.
Following Carpenter's allegations, her Buffy costar Sarah Michelle Gellar posted a statement on Instagram, saying, "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."
Gellar said she would not be making further statements at this time, adding, "I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out."
Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Dawn Summers on Buffy, reposted Gellar's statement on Instagram, saying, "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."
She added, "What he did was very bad. But we win. By surviving!"
In her statement on Wednesday, Carpenter alleged that Whedon made "ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire [her]."
When she was 4 months pregnant, she noted, he called her "fat" to colleagues while she weighed 126 pounds. In one meeting with her, she added, he berated and disparaged her for a rosary tattoo that she had gotten to feel "spiritually grounded."
She said that Whedon intentionally refused multiple calls from her agents to inform him of her pregnancy. When he did find out, he asked her in a closed-door meeting if she was "going to keep it," Carpenter said.
"He proceeding 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 said.
Carpenter said she endured the mistreatment only because she wanted to provide for her future child as the primary breadwinner of her family.
She said that these incidents occurred during what was supposed to be one of the "most wonderful" times as a new mother.
"All that promise and joy sucked right out," she said. "And Joss was the vampire."
Carpenter's allegations come a month after Warner Media completed an investigation into Whedon's behavior on the set of Justice League.
The investigation was prompted by actor Ray Fisher's allegations last July that Whedon's "on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable."
Warner Media said "remedial action" was taken following the investigation, but the company did not provide specifics. Fisher was recently fired as Cyborg from The Flash, an upcoming DC movie.
Carpenter said she participated in the investigation she considers "Ray to be a person of integrity who is telling the truth." She said his firing from The Flash was "the last straw."
"My hope now, about 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," she said.