Almost 20 years following the end of the fan-favorite series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, actress Charisma Carpenter is breaking her silence over the abuse endured by showrunner, Joss Whedon, further sharing how he "traumatized" her when the two worked together. The iconic sci-fi series created by Whedon, based on the movie of the same name became a breakout hit in the late '90s. While Whedon served as an executive producer of the series, Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase, appeared on the show for the first three seasons but later joined the cast of Angel — a spinoff series.
According to Carpenter, however, there was not much love behind the scenes, as she alleges that Whedon made the working environment very difficult for her. "For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day," Carpenter writes in a statement shared on social media. "Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while 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."
Carpenter went on to explain that she decided to speak out in solidarity with Justice League actor Ray Fisher, who previously brought misconduct claims against Whedon. "He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly," she said.
"Like his ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire me, which wreaks havoc on a young actor's self-esteem," she continued. "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."
The actress also claimed that Whedon once called her in for a meeting to "interrogate and berate" her over a rosary tattoo. She also alleges that he forced her to work under harsh circumstances while she was pregnant, after blaming her for "sabotaging the show." She elaborated, "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."
After making "excuses for his behavior" Carpenter says that seeing and hearing the claims made by Fisher moved her to come forward. "It has taken me so long to muster the courage to make this statement publicly. The gravity of it is not lost on me," she concluded her statement. "As a single mother whose family's livelihood is dependent on my craft, I'm scared, Despite my fear about its impact on my future, I can no longer remain silent. This is overdue and necessary. It is time."