UPDATE: Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar, who worked with Carpenter for three seasons on the series, took to Instagram following Carpenter's statement. While Gellar chose not to share any further stories about Whedon from Buffy's set, she did express her support for Carpenter and distanced herself from Whedon. Her statement reads, "While I am proud to have my name associated with Buffy Summer, I don't want to be forever associated with the name Joss Whedon... I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out." The original text of this story follows:
Charisma Carpenter is opening up about her time on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, alleging that creator Joss Whedon abused his power and ran a toxic environment on both shows' sets. Carpenter played Cordelia Chase in the first three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Following Cordelia's graduation from Sunnydale High, Carpenter took Cordelia to Los Angeles in the spinoff series Angel. She was a primary character for four seasons before being let go ahead of the show's fifth and final season. Carpenter's exit took place after the actress became pregnant, and there have long been rumors about what happened to lead to Carpenter's unexpected departure. Carpenter opened up on social media about what she characterizes as "casually cruel" actions by Whedon, particularly regarding his reaction to her pregnancy, in part to support of Ray Fisher's allegations against Whedon in regards to his behavior on the Justice League set.
"[H]e asked me if I was 'going to keep it,' and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me," Carpenter states, recalling a private meeting between her and Whedon after she revealed she was pregnant. "He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me following the season once I gave birth."
Carpenter goes on to say that she experienced Braxton Hicks contractions brought on by "long and physically demanding days," even getting called in at 1 a.m. for a shoot. She believes these were "retaliatory" actions on Whedon's part that culminated with her firing ahead of Angel's final season.
"Unfortunately, all this was happening during one of the most wonderful time[s] in new motherhood," Carpenter says. "All that promise and joy sucked right out. And Joss was the vampire."
Carpenter went on to say she believes Fisher's allegations against Whedon, based on her experiences, and that she participated in Warner Bros.'s investigation into what happened during the Justice League reshoots. She decided to speak out now partly due to Fisher's removal from the upcoming The Flash movie.
"Although I am not shocked, I am deeply pained by it," Carpenter says. "It troubles and saddens me that in 2021 professionals STILL have to choose between whistleblowing in the workplace and job security."
Amber Benson, who joined Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Tara after Carpenter moved on to Angel, backed Carpenter's statement. "Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top," Benson tweeted. "@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."
Fisher took to Twitter to thank Carpenter for sharing her story and for participating in the Justice League investigation. "Charisma Carpenter is one of the bravest people I know," Risher tweeted. "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. 'It is time.' A>E."
Variety reports having tried contacting Whedon for a response. One of his representatives declined to comment.