One of the most influential shows of its era, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been under the microscope in recent years as its creator, Joss Whedon, has been repeatedly accused of "toxic" behavior on set. Series star Sarah Michelle Gellar publicly referenced the behind the scenes conflicts during a recent roundtable discussion at the recent Power of Women Summit, hosted by The Wrap. Appearing on the Power of Storytelling: Producers Roundtable, the actress brought up Buffy without mentioning the show or Whedon by name.
"For so long, I was on a set that I think was known for being an extremely toxic male set," Gellar said. "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."
"Now that I've had this opportunity to work with so many more women and men that support women as well, I realized how easy an experience it can be," she continued. "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."
Reports of Whedon's behavior behind the scenes of Buffy and its spin-off series, Angel, burst into public views last year, when Gellar's co-star, Charisma Carpenter, posted a lengthy statement on social media detailing her negative experiences with the creator. "Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel," Carpenter alleged, writing that Whedon called her "fat" while she was pregnant with her son, and regularly "pitting people against one another to compete and vie for his attention and approval."
In the wake of Carpenter's revelations, Gellar posted a statement on Instagram distancing herself from 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, adding: "I will not be making any further statements at this time."
The Buffy news followed Ray Fisher's own allegations about Whedon's "unacceptable" behavior on the set of 2017's Justice League, the all-star DC team-up movie that the filmmaker took over after original director, Zack Snyder, departed the film. In her statement, Carpenter revealed that she was interviewed as part of Warner Bros.'s subsequent investigation, which ultimately concluded with Whedon departing his HBO series, The Nevers.
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Earlier this year, Whedon sat down with New York magazine for his first major interview since the Buffy allegations broke. Addressing Carpenter's statement, the writer/director denied calling her "fat," but admitted he didn't always act "mannerly" with her. "Most of my experiences with Charisma were delightful and charming," Whedon said. But he had little to nothing to say about his past or present relationship with Gellar, indicating that their disassociation continues.
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