Eliza Dushku becomes latest Buffy cast member to speak out over ‘toxic’ Joss Whedon controversy

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Eliza Dushku has stepped into the growing controversy surrounding the show’s creator, Joss Whedon.

Dushku, who played Faith Lehane on both Buffy and its spin-off series Angel, responded to the accusations that Whedon made the show a “toxic” environment.

The allegations were first made by actor Charisma Carpenter in an explosive statement shared on Wednesday (10 February), detailing years of alleged hostilities on set.

She claimed the director would frequently “abuse his power” and undermine her with “mean and biting” behaviour, stoking her performance anxiety while disempowering and “alienating” her from her peers. The alleged abuse culminated with Carpenter being “unceremoniously fired” after the birth of her child.

“The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition which I still suffer. It is with a beating, heavy heart that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively,” the star said.

Dushku sent her support to Carpenter in an Instagram post using the hashtag #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter.

“CC my heart aches for you and I’m so sorry you have held this for so long,” Dushku wrote. “Your post was powerful, painful and painted a picture we’ll collectively never un-see or un-know.”

She continued: “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.

“May you and countless others feel the solidarity and connection you have likely missed for too long. From courage, come change and hope. It starts and will end because of courageous truth-tellers like you.”

The 40-year-old actor is the latest in a long line of Buffy stars to express their support, with some making allegations of their own in the wake of Carpenter’s claims.

Michelle Trachtenberg, who starred as Buffy’s younger sister Dawn, also accused Whedon of “very not appropriate behaviour”, writing cryptically: “We know what he did. Behind. The. Scenes.”

Amber Benson, who played the lesbian witch Tara Maclay, corroborated the claims. “Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top,” she tweeted, sharing her co-star’s statement.

“Charisma Carpenter is speaking truth and I support her 100 per cent. There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it 20-plus years later.”