Sarah Michelle Gellar sought to distance herself on Wednesday evening (10 February) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon amid a swelling wave of abuse accusations from co-stars.
Gellar, who played the perky and sharp-tongued vampire slayer Buffy Summers, posted a statement on social media in response to allegations by Charisma Carpenter and Amber Benson of Whedon’s “repeated” bullying.
The pair, emboldened by accusations of misconduct levelled by Justice League star Ray Fisher last year, spoke of a workplace culture of “hostility” and “toxicity” fanned by Whedon.
Across both Buffy and its spin-off Angel, Carpenter claimed, Whedon “abused his power”.
As the accusations shuddered online, startling devoted fans of the cult classic, Gellar wrote on Instagram: “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,” she said.
View this post on Instagram
“I am more focused on raising my family and surviving a pandemic currently, so will not be making further comments at this time.”
Gellar has been married to actor Freddie Prinze Jr since 2002, raising kids Charlotte Grace Prinze, 11, and Rocky James Prinze, eight, together in California.
“But I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out,” Gellar stressed.
The 43-year-old uploaded the statement both as an Instagram story and as a post on her profile – followers are unable to comment on it.
Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s sister Dawn, shared Gellar’s statement in an Instagram story, adding: “We know what he did. Behind. The. Scenes.”
Buffy stars Charisma Carpenter and Amber Bendos accuse Joss Whedon of ‘toxic’ abuse
Carpenter, who played self-absorbed but whip-smart debutante Cordelia Chase on the beloved WB show, posted a lengthy statement detailing years of reported hostility on Twitter she allegedly suffered from the series’ creator and executive producer.
There were many. The string of explosive accusations included Whedon making “passive-aggressive threats to fire her”, being “casually cruel”, “pitting people” against one another and making “mean and disparaging about others”.
“The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition which I still suffer,” Carpenter said. “It is with a beating, heavy heart that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively.”
In one incident, upon receiving the news of her pregnancy, Whedon “requested a meeting” with her and “asked ‘me if I was ‘going to keep it; and manipulatively weaponised by womanhood and faith against me”, as well as dealing broadsides against her character.
Co-star Amber Benson threw her support to Carpenter, seeking to amplify her claims of Whedon’s “toxicity”.
“Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top,” Benson, who played Tara Maclay on Buffy, tweeted.
“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.