The shine has definitely worn off in Tinseltown, and what's been exposed underneath is about as rotten as it gets.
Actress Charisma Carpenter is the latest to come out against Avengers producer/director Joss Whedon, a Hollywood icon who has recently been accused by multiple actors and actresses of displaying abusive and harassing behavior on set, particularly toward young women. Her story marks just the latest in a now years-long avalanche of allegations of abuse, harassment and manipulation within an industry that claims to uphold equality, justice and women's rights as their most sacred of values.
Carpenter, who worked with Whedon for several years on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel where she played cheerleader-turned-demon fighter Cordelia Chase, accused Whedon of creating a “hostile and toxic work environment" in which he "abused his power on numerous occasions." After becoming pregnant while working on Angel, Carpenter said Whedon repeatedly called her “fat” in front of her colleagues, and at one point pulled her into a private meeting in her office in which he demanded to know if she “was going to keep it.”
“Her 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," she said.
Carpenter alleged Whedon made excessive work demands that caused physical difficulties in her pregnancy, and that the years of abuse “triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer.”
“These memories and more have weighed on my soul like bricks for nearly half my life,” she wrote.
Carpenter is far from the first actor to accuse Whedon of hostility and abuse on set. In July of 2020, Justice League actor Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in the franchise, accused Whedon of showing "gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable" behavior toward cast members. Carpenter’s accusations also follow similar allegations against Whedon made by Amber Benson, who played Tara on Buffy. Their co-star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, has come out in support of her fellow Buffy alumni, saying in a statement on Instagram that “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.”
(Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore)