Charisma Carpenter, the actress who played Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, has accused the series creator Joss Whedon of abuse during her time on the two television shows — abuse that escalated particularly during her pregnancy.
The actor tweeted on Wednesday stating that Whedon had “abused his power on numerous occasions” and created a “hostile and toxic work environment”.
BuzzFeed News reached out to Whedon’s representatives but they did not respond.
Carpenter stated that Whedon called her “fat” to her colleagues while she was four months pregnant and asked if she was “going to keep it.” He also fired her after she had the baby.
She alleged that Whedon had called her “fat” to colleagues when she was 4 months pregnant, asked her if she was “going to keep it,” and then fired her after she gave birth.
Whedon, Carpenter alleges, has a history of being cruel.
“While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers.”
She says that the incidents have left her with a “chronic physical condition”.
Carpenter’s role as Cordelia on both Buffy and Angel made her a fan favorite. Her death in the latter series was received poorly by the fans.
After Carpenter’s post, her Buffy colleague Sarah Michelle Gellar also issued a statement. Gellar began, “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 declined to speak further on the issue at this time.
Michelle Trachtenberg, who was fifteen when she joined the Buffy cast as Dawn Summers, reposted Gellar’s statement on Instagram and added, “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.”
Also in her statement, Carpenter said that Whedon made “ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire [her].”
She says that at four months pregnant, Whedon called her fat — despite her weight at 126 pounds. He also scolded her for a rosary tattoo she received to feel “spiritually grounded.”
Whedon, according to Carpenter, also refused calls from her agents to let him know about her pregnancy. When he found out, he asked if Carpenter planned on keeping it.
“He proceeding 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,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter said that she allowed the abuse to continue because she was the primary income for her growing family. However, because of Whedon’s behavior, she says that her time as a new mother was difficult.
“All that promise and joy sucked right out. And Joss was the vampire.”
These allegations came only a month after Warner Media finished an investigation into Whedon’s behavior on Justice League.
That investigation came after Ray Fisher made several allegations last July about Whedon’s “…gross, abusive, unprofessional…” treatment of the cast and crew. Fisher was fired as Cyborg from The Flash.
Warner Media said “remedial action” was taken after the investigation but did not give specifics.
Carpenter participated in the investigation and clearly stated that she believes Ray to be telling the truth. It was his firing from The Flash that prompted her to speak out.
“My hope now, about 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,” she said.
Lead image: Charisma Carpenter/Instagram/Twitter