Sarah Michelle Gellar thought all sets were a 'toxic male environment'

Sarah Michelle Gellar used to think that all movie sets were a "toxic male environment."

The 45-year-old actress landed the title role in the hit 1990s sci-fi series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' early on in her career and claimed that women were "pitted against each other" in those days and that female friendships were discouraged because they were too "powerful.".

She said: "For so long, I was on a set that I think was known for being an extremely toxic male set. And so that was ingrained in my head that that was what all sets were like, and that women were pitted against each other — that if women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that down."

The 'Cruel Intentions' star - who is married to actor Freddie Prinze Jr. and has Charlotte Grace, 13, and son Rocky James, 10 - went on to explain that she has had the chance to work with other women as her career has progressed and has had an "easier" time but claimed that the world is still in a place where it needs women in jobs instead of men so that they can develop their own voice.

She told The Wrap: "Now that I've had this opportunity to work with so many more women and men that support women as well, I realised how easy an experience it can be, but… unfortunately we're still in that place where all of those departments a lot of times need to be women for us to have a voice."

Sarah previously spoke out in support of her former co-star Charisma Carpenter, who made allegations against show creator Joss Whedon that he created a toxic work environment on the set of the show.

Sarah - who played Buffy from 1997 to 2003 - posted 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.

"I am more focused on raising my family and surviving a pandemic currently, so I will not be making any further statements at this time. But I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out."

In her original social media post, Charisma accused Whedon of “abusing his power” as the show's creator and executive producer.

She wrote: "Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together 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. (sic)"

Charisma also alleged Whedon called her "fat" when she was pregnant, and claimed he would often try to “pit” cast members against each other to “compete and vie for his attention and approval”.