On Wednesday, Charisma Carpenter joined the growing list of people who’ve come out against Joss Whedon. The actress alleged emotional abuse on the sets of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, claiming he engaged in behavior “only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers.” Since then a number of other Buffy alum have come out in support of her, including Michelle Trachtenberg and Sarah Michelle Gellar, Amber Benson, and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Now Eliza Dushku, who played fellow Slayer Faith on both shows, has joined the fray.
“I’m so sorry you have held this for so long,” Dushku wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. “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.”
Dushku also lamented about overall abuse in the entertainment industry, saying that “neglecting to ‘name’ the power/gender/sexual/racial abuse epidemic in the entertainment industry (and for that matter society in general), enables the abusers and only emboldens and ultimately fortifies abusive systems.”
But she was hopeful, saying that, with people like Carpenter stepping forward — as well as Ray Fisher, the Justice League star who alleged Whedon abuse last summer — that “countless others feel the solidarity and connection” they have “likely missed for too long.” She concluded by writing, “It starts and will end because of courageous truth-tellers like you. I admire, respect, and love you.”
Carpenter was a series regular on Buffy, playing Cordelia Chase, a fellow high school student and a part of our hero’s inner circle. She left after three seasons to co-star on Angel, but she suddenly and controversially vanished from the show after the fourth season. Carpenter alleged that, among other allegations, Whedon fired her for getting pregnant.