Charisma Carpenter Spoke Out About Joss Whedon’s Bullying On The “Buffy And “Angel” Sets
Add Charisma Carpenter to the growing list of actors who claim Joss Whedon is a toxic asshole who abuses his power. She joins the recently fired Ray Fisher, Joss’ ex-wife Kai Cole, and Wonder Woman Gal Gadot. Charisma, who played Cordelia on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, released a statement on Twitter and Instagram detailing Joss’ alleged on-set bullying. She claims he was “casually cruel”, pitted people against each other, created “hostile and toxic work environments”, and harassed and fired her when she got pregnant during Angel’s fourth season. Oh, and he asked Charisma if she was “going to keep” the baby, calling her fat when she was four months along and just 126 pounds. Thiiiis biiiiitch.
Here’s Charisma’s statement:
— charisma carpenter (@AllCharisma) February 10, 2021
Here are some highlights (well, lowlights):
Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions will 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 heart that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively.
Then she listed examples of his abuse:
Like his ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire me, which wreaks havoc on a young actor’s self-esteem. And callously calling me “fat” to colleagues when I was 4 months pregnant, weighing 126 lbs. He was mean and biting, disparaging about others openly, and often played favorites, pitting people against one another to compete and vie for his attention and approval.
Charisma says Joss once called her in for a sit-down meeting to “interrogate and berate” her for getting a rosary tattoo on her wrist that she says she got to help her feel more spiritually grounded “in an increasingly volatile work climate that affected me physically.” Ugh. If Hollywood can cover up the eyesore on Ben Affleck’s back, some makeup on a little wrist tattoo should be no problem, even in 2002.
Charisma also says then when she got pregnant, Joss purposely dodged multiple calls from her agent to tell him the news. Once he learned that she was expecting, he requested a meeting with her:
In that closed-door meeting, he asked me if I was “going to keep it” and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me. 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.
At six months pregnant, I was asked to report to work at 1:00 AM after my doctor recommended shortening my work hours. Due to long and physically demanding days and the emotional stress of having to defend my needs as a working pregnant woman, I began to experience Braxton Hicks contractions. It was clear to me the 1:00 AM call was retaliatory.
Charisma says she felt powerless and sucked it up cuz she was the primary breadwinner in her family. She calls Joss a “vampire” for sucking all the promise and joy from her experience as a new mother. Whoa. Irony, man. Now, Charisma’s touched on the pregnancy situation before, in interviews, and at fan conventions. She acknowledged that she wasn’t invited back for Angel’s fifth season and that her relationship with Joss had become “strained” because of her pregnancy. But now she’s MENTIONING IT ALL.
Charisma writes that she’s made a lot of excuses for Joss’ behavior, and would even publicly state that she wanted to work with him again. It was only after years of therapy and “a wake up call from the Time’s Up movement” did she realize that she was the victim of abuse. She says when Ray Fisher publicly accused Joss of being an asshole, it “gutted” her, and she decided to participate in WarnerMedia’s Justice League investigation.
Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, also spoke about this on Instagram, saying that she supports victims of abuse and doesn’t want her name tied to J*ss Wh*d*n’s:
As someone who was absolutely obsessed with Buffy and Angel in high school and spent math classes writing Buffy and GILES fanfic (!!!!), I would like to extend a gigantic “Fuck You” to Joss Whedon. Sigh. I guess it’s a good lesson to never trust a straight white male feminist who loves to remind you that he’s a straight white male feminist all the time.