The stars of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel are speaking out in support of Charisma Carpenter, who on Wednesday accused the shows’ creator, Joss Whedon, of fostering a “hostile and toxic” work environment on both sets.
In a lengthy statement posted to Twitter, the actress detailed how Whedon allegedly mistreated her during her time on both shows. Carpenter wrote that after nearly two decades of staying quiet and making excuses for “traumatizing” events, she finally mustered the courage to call out Whedon for abusing his power on numerous occasions.
Following Carpenter‘s allegations — which included claims that Whedon continuously made passive-aggressive threats to fire her, called her fat when she was four months pregnant, pitted cast members against one another, and “unceremoniously” fired her after accusing her of sabotaging the show — several of her Buffy and Angel cast mates shared their thoughts on the situation and messages of support. See what they had to say below.
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
“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,” Gellar, who played the title role on Buffy, wrote Feb. 10 on Instagram. “I am more focused on raising my family and surviving a pandemic currently so I will not be making any further statements. I stand with all survivors of abuse and I’m proud of them for speaking out.”
James Marsters (Spike)
“While I will always be honored to have played the character of Spike, the Buffy set was not without challenges,” Marsters wrote Feb. 12 on Instagram. “I do not support abuse of any kind and am heartbroken to learn of the experiences of some of the cast. I send my love and support to all involved.”
Eliza Dushku (Faith)
“CC, my heart aches for you and I’m so sorry you have held this for so long,” Dushku said in a statement posted to Instagram on Feb. 11. “Your post was powerful, painful, and painted a picture we’ll collectively never un-see or un-know/ Thank you. I hadn’t known it and I won’t forget it. I frequently think of the saying, ‘We are as sick as our secrets.’ Our secrets indeed make and keep us sick.”
“What I’m learning more and more — and have personally found most valuable — is that profound healing can only come from naming and disclosing what actually happened, the necessary first step (once someone’s ready) to freeing ourselves from our secrets, untold truths which have kept us isolated, ashamed, and held hostage,” she continued. Dushku also thanked Carpenter for her “courage” in speaking up, writing: “From courage, come change and hope. It starts and will end because of courageous truth-tellers like you. I admire, respect, and love you.”
Anthony Head (Giles)
During an interview with U.K. broadcaster ITV‘s This Morning on Feb. 11, Head said he’d had no idea any kind of abuse was taking place. “I’ve been up most of the night just running through my memories thinking, ‘What did I miss?'” he said. “And this is not a man saying, ‘I didn’t see it, so it didn’t happen.’ It’s just, I am gutted, I’m seriously gutted, because one of my memories, my fondest memories of Buffy, was the fact that it was so empowering, not just in the words of the script, but the family feel of the show.
“I’m really sad if people went through these experiences that they didn’t — I was a sort of like a father figure and I would hope that someone would come to me and say, ‘I’m struggling,’ or, ‘I just had a horrible conversation,'” he continued. “Admittedly the first post by Charisma was when she was working on Angel and I was long gone, but there are other posts subsequently that are making me think, ‘How on earth did I not know this was going on?'”
Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn)
“Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this,” Trachtenberg wrote Feb. 10 on Instagram, reposting Gellar‘s original statement. “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 behavior……” She then commented on her own photo: “You. Are my rock!! What he did was very bad. But we win. By surviving!”
She later commented on her own post, saying: “The last. Comment I will make on this. Was. There was a rule. Saying. He’s not allowed in a room alone with Michelle again.” Trachtenberg did not provide further detail.
Amber Benson (Tara)
“Buffy was a toxic environment, and it starts at the top,” Benson tweeted Feb. 10, shortly after Carpenter‘s statement went live. “@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.”
A representative for Whedon did not respond to EW‘s request for comment about Carpenter‘s allegations.