'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Star Charisma Carpenter Claims Joss Whedon's Harassment Doubled Down When She Got Pregnant

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Kristyn Burtt
·2 min read
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel star Charisma Carpenter has been sitting on a dark secret for two decades — but she’s opening up now, alleging in a powerful and painful Twitter post that the creator of both shows, Joss Whedon, harassed her for years when they worked together. The actress wrote that the abuse was targeted to everyone in the cast, but says her situation got significantly worse when she was pregnant while working on the show.

When he was notified about her pregnancy, Carpenter claims he stepped up his abuse: “He asked me if I was ‘going to keep it’ and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me,'” she wrote. “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.”

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Like many people in a harassment situation, Carpenter couldn’t just walk away. She says she needed the paycheck because she was the primary breadwinner in her family — and that salary mattered even more with a growing family. Instead of enjoying the sweet early days of motherhood, she says that “all that promise and joy [was] sucked right out” of the major milestone “and Joss was the vampire.”

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What’s notably evident is the pain Carpenter feels even all of these years removed from the situation. She notes that her time with The Avengers director left her with anxiety and self-esteem issues and “triggered a chronic physical condition” from which she still suffers. The now 50-year-old actress gives credit to her time in therapy and awakening from the Time’s Up movement in helping her finally understand “the complexities of this demoralized thinking.”

Carpenter also felt empowered to come forward after Ray Fisher alleged that Whedon abused his power on Justice League. Fisher’s claims resulted in an investigation launched by WarnerMedia, which Carpenter revealed she was an active participant in because she believed Fisher. “Although I am not shocked, I am deeply pained by it,” Carpenter wrote about Fisher’s firing from the franchise with little repercussions for Whedon. “It troubles and saddens me that in 2021 professionals STILL have to choose between whistleblowing in the workplace and job security.”

SheKnows reached out to Whedon’s representatives for comment.

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