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Joss Whedon Addresses His Affairs on Buffy Set amid Claims of Physical and Verbal Abuse

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Joss Whedon has spoken out about the many allegations of misconduct against him, including claims that he had affairs with cast members on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Whedon, who created the popular 90s series and served as the showrunner for the first five seasons, was rumored to have slept with two of the actresses on the show. In a recent interview, he told New York Magazine's Vulture that he feels "f—--- terrible" about his extramarital affairs. (During Buffy's run on The WB from 1997 to 2003, he was wed to now-ex-wife Kai Cole).

When asked why he feels bad, he said having sex with the stars working for him "messes up the power dynamic." However, he later added that he felt he "had" to sleep with them and was "powerless" against it — he said he thought that if he didn't, he would "always regret it."

Elsewhere in the article, a "high-level member" of the Buffy production team, who remained anonymous, claimed that she witnessed Whedon and one of the actresses making out on the floor of her office.

"They would bang into my chair. How can you concentrate? It was gross," she said, noting that such incidents happened more than once and she later quit the show. "These actions proved he had no respect for me and my work."

Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon

Jason Merritt/Getty

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Whedon, 57, denied making out with the actress on the floor. "That seems false. I don't understand that story even a little bit," he told Vulture, adding that it didn't make sense because he "lived in terror" of people finding out about the affairs.

He also denied various other claims of misconduct on the sets of his TV shows. Buffy costume designer Cynthia Bergstrom told the outlet she remembered him physically lashing out at her during a costume dispute between him and star Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played the titular character.

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"I was like, 'Joss, let's just get her dressed,' " Bergstrom said. "He grabbed my arm and dug in his fingers until his fingernails imprinted the skin and I said, 'You're hurting me.' "

"I don't believe that," Whedon said in response. "I know I would get angry, but I was never physical with people."

Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Buffy The Vampire Slayer

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A writer on another one of his shows, Firefly, said Whedon verbally belittled a different writer in front of the entire staff.

"It was basically 90 minutes of vicious mockery," the writer said. "Joss pretended to have a slide projector, and he read her dialogue out loud and pretended he was giving a lecture on terrible writing as he went through the 'slides' and made funny voices — funny for him. The guys were looking down at their pages, and this woman was fighting tears the entire time. I've had my share of shitty showrunners, but the intent to hurt — that's the thing that stands out for me now."

Whedon said he never intentionally humiliated anyone on his staff. "If I am upsetting somebody, it will be a problem for me," he said.

The new claims and Whedon's comments in Vulture come about a year after Buffy star Charisma Carpenter accused him of abusive behavior on the series as well as its spinoff, Angel. He has also faced allegations regarding his behavior while making the 2017 movie, Justice League.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Online USA/Getty Buffy The Vampire Slayer

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After Carpenter spoke out, costars Geller, Amber Beson, Michelle Trachtenberg and Eliza Dushku all came forward in support of her, with Benson noting that the set was a "toxic environment."

Trachtenberg, who played Buffy's younger sister, further claimed that Whedon was not allowed to be alone with her after an unnamed incident on set and called his behavior "very. Not. Appropriate."

As for Carpenter's previous statements, which included an allegation that Whedon called her "fat" after learning she was pregnant, Whedon admitted he "was not mannerly" in his interactions with her at the time.

However, he denied calling her fat. "Most of my experiences with Charisma were delightful and charming. She struggled sometimes with her lines, but nobody could hit a punch line harder than her," he said.

Overall, Whedon said he thinks he "absolutely" could have been a better showrunner, but added, "I think I'm one of the nicer showrunners that's ever been."