Actress accuses series creator of misconduct, including “retaliatory” and “cruel” behavior while she was pregnant
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Charisma Carpenter accused “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” creator Joss Whedon Wednesday of “hostile” and “toxic” behavior on the sets of both now-ended television series.
In a lengthy statement tweeted by the actress, Carpenter accused Whedon of “retaliatory” and “cruel” behavior while she was pregnant on the set of “Angel,” and said she supports “Justice League” star Ray Fisher’s claims against Whedon. Carpenter also said she participated in WarnerMedia’s investigation into Whedon’s behavior on the set of “Justice League,” following Fisher’s accusations.
Carpenter says she “participated In Warner-Media’s Justice League investigation because I believe Ray to be a person of integrity who is telling the truth.”
“His firing as Cyborg in The Flash was the last straw for me,” the actress writes. “Although I am not shocked, I am deeply pained by it. It troubles and saddens me that in 2021 professionals STILL have to choose between whistleblowing in the workplace and job security. It has taken me so long to muster the courage to make this statement publicly. The gravity of it is not lost on me. As a single mother whose family’s livelihood is dependent on my craft, l’ 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.”
Representatives for Whedon, Fisher, WarnerMedia and 20th Television, the studio that produced by “Buffy” and “Angel,” did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment Wednesday.
See Carpenter’s statement in full below.
For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day,” Carpenter’s statement begins. “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.
Last summer, When Ray Fisher publicly accused Joss of abusive and unprofessional behavior toward the cast and crew during reshoots on the Justice League set in 2017, it gutted me. Joss has a history of being casually cruel. He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly.
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.
He called me in for a sit-down meeting to interrogate and berate me regarding a rosary tattoo I got to help me feel more spiritually grounded in an increasingly volatile work climate that affected me physically.
Joss intentionally refused multiple calls from my agents making it impossible to connect with him to tell him the news that I was pregnant. Finally, once Joss was apprised of the situation, he requested a meeting with me. 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.
Back then, I felt powerless and alone. With no other option, I swallowed the mistreatment and carried on. After all, I had a baby on the way, and I was the primary breadwinner of my growing family. Unfortunately, all this was happening during one of the most wonderful time in new motherhood. All that promise and joy sucked right out. And Joss was the vampire.
Despite the harassment, a part of me still sought his validation. I made excuses for his behavior and repressed my own pain. I have even stated publicly at conventions that I’d work with him again. Only recently, after years of therapy and a wake up call from the Time’s Up movement, do I understand the complexities of this demoralized thinking. It is impossible to understand the psyche without enduring the abuse, Our society and industry vilify the victims and glorify the abusers for their accomplishments. The onus is on the abused with an expectation to accept and adapt to be employable. No accountability on the transgressor who sails on unscathed. Unrepentant. Remorseless.
These memories and more have weighed on my soul like bricks for nearly half of life. I wish I said something sooner. I wish I had the composure and courage all years ago. But I muted myself in shame and conditioned silence.
With tears welling. I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to Ray and others for remaining private about my experience with Joss and the suffering it has caused me. It is abundantly evident that Joss has persisted in his harmful actions, continuing to create wreckage in his wake. My hope now, by finally coming forward about these experiences, is to create space for the healing of others who I know have experienced similar serialized abuses of power.
Recently, I participated In Warner-Media’s Justice League investigation because I believe Ray to be a person of integrity who is telling the truth. His firing as Cyborg in The Flash was the last straw for me. Although I am not shocked, I am deeply pained by it. It troubles and saddens me that in 2021 professionals STILL have to choose between whistleblowing in the workplace and job security.
It has taken me so long to muster the courage to make this statement publicly. The gravity of it is not lost on me. As a single mother whose family’s livelihood is dependent on my craft, l’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.
More to come…
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