Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel actress Charisma Carpenter has come forward to join the public discussion about allegations of misconduct against Joss Whedon. It’s the latest in a long line developments involving WarnerMedia’s investigation into Whedon’s alleged behavior, so let’s do a little background here.
Last August, WarnerMedia opened an investigation into allegations brought by Justice League actor Ray Fisher against Whedon, who he accused of misconduct and abusive behavior on the set. Jason Momoa publicly supported Fisher while seconding the need for an investigation, and Gal Gadot subsequently added that her experience on the set (after Whedon took over for the departing Zack Snyder) “wasn’t the best one.” Subsequently, WarnerMedia declared that investigation was complete, and “remedial action” was taken, although they did not elaborate upon exactly what that action was.
WarnerMedia also said that Fisher didn’t cooperate with the investigation. He has denied this declaration, and after he was dismissed from The Flash movie as Cyborg, he’s continued to regularly tweet about the subject, most recently to demand an apology. And now, Carpenter is joining the #IStandWithRayFisher movement. She did so by detailing her own experiences with Whedon in a statement on Twitter:
For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day.
Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working 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.
Charisma detailed more allegations, including how Whedon allegedly berated her for weight gain after receiving the news that she was pregnant:
[O]nce 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 am after my doctor recommended shortening my work hours. Our 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 that 1 am call was retaliatory.
Back then, I felt powerless and alone. With norther 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.
Charisma also reveals that she participated in WarnerMedia’s Justice League investigation, and she’s “deeply pained” by their decision to fire Fisher as Cyborg in The Flash. She adds that it took years for her to come forward to also speak out against Joss Whedon out of fear that retaliation would destroy her career. “As a single mother whose family’s livelihood is dependent on my craft, I’m scared.” Still, she added, “I can no longer remain silent. This is overdue and necessary. It is time.”
You can read Charisma’s full statement below.