Buffy stars allege abuse of power by show creator Joss Whedon

Charisma Carpenter claimed Joss Whedon would play favourites, pitting people against each other to make them vie for his attention and approval. PHOTO: KARAZMA/INSTAGRAM

Almost 20 years after TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer ended its run, actress Charisma Carpenter has broken her silence on the abuse she allegedly suffered from show creator Joss Whedon.

In a lengthy post on Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday (Feb 10), the actress, 50, who played Cordelia in Buffy and its spin-off Angel, wrote: "Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel."

A pop culture phenomenon, the TV show about a cheerleader and her friends who fought the supernatural ran for seven seasons from 1997 to 2003 and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz.

Its success led to the spin-off Angel, focusing on Boreanaz's vampire with a soul, which ran for five seasons from 1999 to 2004.

Carpenter claimed Whedon, 56, would play favourites, pitting people against each other to make them vie for his attention and approval.

Besides creating a toxic work environment, he also allegedly often made disparaging remarks about her weight and threatened to fire her, which he eventually did after she gave birth in 2003.

"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 said. "With no other option, I swallowed the mistreatment and carried on."

She is speaking out now to support actor Ray Fisher, who came forward with allegations against Whedon last year.

He claimed the Justice League director "was gross, abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable" while they worked together on the movie in 2017.

Whedon did not respond to the allegations from either actors.

Just hours after Carpenter's post, Gellar stepped forward to lend her support.

"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," the usually private actress wrote on Instagram.

The Cruel Intentions star added: "I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out."

Other actresses on the show have also backed Carpenter's allegations.

Amber Benson, who played witch Tara, said the show was a "toxic environment" and Carpenter "is speaking truth".

Actress Michelle Trachtenberg, who was a teenager when she played Buffy's younger sister, reposted Gellar's statement on Instagram and added: "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 behaviour."

She also wrote in her Instagram Stories: "We know what he did. Behind. The. Scenes."

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