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Buffy staffers ‘feared and idolised’ Joss Whedon, who ran the show like a ‘high school’

Josh Milton February 28, 2021

Joss Whedon. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Joss Whedon ran the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel sets as if they were “high school”, ex-employees of the embattled show creator claimed.

Since series star Charisma Carpenter came forward with various explosive allegations against Whedon, such as him “abusing his power” on set, various castmembers and off-camera staff have spoken out.

Speaking to Variety, 11 former staffers who worked on both the beloved WB show and its spin-off in the late 1990s and early 2000s claim Whedon had a track record of misconduct.

The publication said that many of the insiders described the “set as operating like high school”, with the writer-director deciding “who was in and who was out”. He could be “sharp-tongued”, one source said, and was “both feared and idolised”.

Carpenter claimed that Whedon made disparaging comments against her when she was four months pregnant before “unceremoniously firing her” when she gave birth.

One of the staffers, who worked closely with the actor, echoed Carpenter’s claim, saying what she suffered was “very, very bad, mean-spirited, and verbal abuse”.

Sources also waded into allegations from Michelle Trachtenberg that she and Whedon were not allowed in the same room alone together.

Indeed, there was “an effort was made by those around Trachtenberg to ensure the young actor was never alone with Whedon”, one source described. The “rule” came to head following an improper verbal exchange between the pair, it was claimed.

While the allegations were widespread, complaints never made it to studio heads in either 20th Century Fox Television or The WB, insiders said. No complaints were ever issued to human resources, they added.

Buffy cast throw weight towards Charisma Carpenter amid Joss Whedon allegations

Whether they have issued warming statements of solidarity, come forward with their own claims or simply distanced themselves from Whedon altogether, countless Buffy stars have sought to support Carpenter.

The actor, who played the air-headed but whip-smart debutante Cordelia Chase in both Buffy and Angel, claimed the director would frequently undermine her with “mean and biting” behaviour.

(L-R) Nicholas Brendon, Anthony Head, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Charisma Carpenter and Alyson Hannigan in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Images)

The alleged abuse culminated with Carpenter being “unceremoniously fired” from Angel after the birth of her child, among other explosive claims of workplace misconduct.

Seemingly emboldened by Carpenter, Amber Benson (Tara) and Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn) each came forward with their own allegations against the writer.

Buffy‘s own Sarah Michelle Gellar, meanwhile, has sought to distance herself from Whedon – amplified further by Eliza Dushku (Faith) and Emma Caulfield (Anya).

David Boreanaz, who played 241-year-old vampire heartthrob Angel, commended Carpenter for her “strength”. He has been “privately” supporting her, Carpenter said.

Anthony Head (Giles), James Marsters (Spike) and Amy Acker (Fred) and have expressed their respective “heartbreak” upon hearing the reports.

Nicholas Brendon, who played token straight man Alexander “Xander” Harris, said he “loves” both Carpenter and Whedon, but admitted there were “transgressions” on set.

Of the main cast, the “Scooby Gang”, only Alyson Hannigan, who played wallflower-turned-witch Willow Rosenberg, has not yet made a public comment.

Whedon is yet to address any of the allegations.

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