Eliza Dushku has spoken out in support of her Buffy the Vampire Slayer co-star, Charisma Carpenter, following Carpenter’s allegations that Buffy showrunner Joss Whedon subjected her to “inappropriate and cruel behavior on set.” Dushku, who starred as Faith on Buffy as well as its spinoff, Angel, wrote on Instagram, “CC, my heart aches for you and I’m so sorry you have held this for so long. Your post was powerful, painful, and painted a picture we’ll collectively never un-see or un-know.” Dushku continued, “I frequently think of the saying, ‘we are as sick as our secrets.’ Our secrets indeed make and keep us sick.”
Dushku shared that what she has “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.” She goes on to say that failing to point out the “power/gender/sexual/racial abuse” in the entertainment industry only enables abuse and abusive systems, and thanks Carpenter for her courage. “It starts and will end because of courageous truth-tellers like you. I admire, respect, and love you,” Dushku concludes.
Carpenter posted a lengthy statement to Instagram on February 10, alleging that Whedon was frequently “mean and biting, disparaging about others openly, and often played favorites, pitting people against one another to compete and vie for his attention and approval” on the set of Buffy. Carpenter’s statement was itself in support of Ray Fisher, who accused Whedon of racist and abusive behavior on the set of Justice League last July. Carpenter also detailed specific abuse that she endured during her pregnancy, recalling that Whedon “asked me if I was going to ‘keep it’ and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me. He proceeded 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.”
Dushku is the latest Buffy star to come out in support of Carpenter. Amber Benson tweeted on Wednesday that “Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top.” Sarah Michelle Gellar has also voiced support for her co-stars, posting in a statement 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.” Gellar did not specifically confirm if she had experienced emotional abuse from Whedon, but did write, “I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out.” Michelle Trachtenberg reposted Gellar’s statement with the caption, “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. Very. Not. Appropriate.” Whedon has not yet responded to the claims.