Hours after her Buffy the Vampire Slayer co-stars Charisma Carpenter and Amber Benson alleged that showrunner Joss Whedon plagued the show’s set with frequent emotional abuse and toxic behavior, Sarah Michelle Gellar has issued a statement of her own. In a message posted to Instagram, Gellar voiced support for her former castmates about going public with their experiences, although she didn’t state if she, too, had any unpleasant memories of working with Whedon. “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 wrote. “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.”
Carpenter was motivated to speak out against Whedon in solidarity with Justice League star Ray Fisher, who accused him of “abusive” on-set behavior in 2020. Among her allegations, Carpenter said that she was subjected to “ongoing, passive-aggressive threats” and that Whedon was “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.” She also alleged that Whedon was particularly cruel to her when she became pregnant while filming Angel: “He 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.” Similarly, Benson characterized Buffy as having “a toxic environment that started at the top,” and she’s “still processing” the “damage done” to her two decades later.
In addition, fellow Buffy co-star Michelle Trachtenberg reposted Gellar’s statement on Instagram with her own comments about Whedon. “Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this,” she wrote. “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.” Trachtenberg added in a separate Instagram Story that “we know what he did behind the scenes.” Whedon has yet to respond to the women’s claims.
Update, February 12: Michelle Trachtenberg updated her Instagram Stories post with the caption, “The last comment I will make on this. Was there was a rule. Saying. He’s not allowed in a room alone with Michelle again.” Trachtenberg, who was 15 when she started on Buffy, didn’t elaborate further on the incident beyond the caption. Joss Whedon has still not responded to the allegations.