Prominent television and film maker Joss Whedon has been accused of abuse from actresses who worked with him on the set of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Representatives for Whedon didn’t immediately respond to a request from CBS News on Friday.
Actress Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase, was the first person from the show to bring forward the allegations. She tweeted a lengthy statement Wednesday that Whedon allegedly “abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy and 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 added. “The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer.”
Among the allegations, Carpenter said he called her “fat” when she was four months pregnant and asked her if she was going to keep the child. Carpenter said she decided to come forward after actor Ray Fisher alleged misconduct against Whedon and other Warner Bros. executives – and he was removed from the cast of “The Flash” movie last month.
Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s younger sister in the series, also leveled accusations against Whedon, saying he did not display “appropriate behavior” around her as a teenager. She said on Instagram there was a rule saying he “was not allowed in a room alone with Michelle again.”
Other cast members have come out in support. Gellar, the show’s star, released a statement Thursday saying while she was proud of being associated with Buffy Summers, said doesn’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 said. “But I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out.”
While quoting Carpenter’s accusations on Twitter, Amber Benson called the set of Buffy a “toxic environment and it starts at the top.”
“There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later,” she said.
Eliza Dushku, who worked with Whedon on “Buffy,” its spinoff “Angel” and Whedon’s series “Dollhouse,” said Carpenter’s post was “powerful” and said she didn’t know about her accusations before.
“CC, my heart aches for you & I’m so sorry you have held this for so long,” she said.
So far, none of their former male co-stars on the show have spoken out about Carpenter’s or Trachtenberg’s accusations, but James Marsters, who played Spike, recalled a confrontation he had with Whedon. He allegedly backed Marsters to a wall and told him,”I don’t care how popular you are, kid, you’re dead.”
Whedon has been a part of a several pop culture hits, including “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Cabin in the Woods,” “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” two “Avengers” movies and “Justice League.” While working on the latter, “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot hinted to the L.A. Times that she didn’t have the “best” experience with Whedon and complained to upper management.