Charisma Carpenter Breaks Silence On Joss Whedon’s ‘Toxic’ Misconduct
Although her character of Cordelia Chase was written out of the fourth season of “Angel” due to her real-life pregnancy, many fans have criticized the way she was written out of the show.
This morning, Carpenter posted a lengthy essay to her Instagram page, alleging “toxic” and “hostile” abuse she suffered under Buffyverse creator Joss Whedon in order to support “Justice League” actor Ray Fisher.
Ray Fisher Controversy
Ray Fisher, who had previously played the character of Cyborg in Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” has accused Whedon of “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable behavior.”
An internal investigation led by WarnerMedia led to “remedial action,” but no punitive actions were taken.
Fisher has since called into question the validity of the investigation, writing, “No one, in any profession, should have to argue with their employer for their claims of abuse, racism, and discrimination to be taken up the proper chain of command. And no one, in any position of leadership, should attempt to dissuade those wishing to report such claims from doing so.”
A Hostile Environment
Carpenter came out in full support of Fisher, writing, “Joss has a history of being casually cruel. He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly.”
She describes, in detail, how his words and actions wrecked havoc on her physical health and self-esteem, such as calling her “fat” to colleagues when she was four months pregnant, despite a concerning weight of only 126 lbs.
Describing how Whedon “manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me,” she explains that she was asked to report to work at 1 AM, even despite her doctor’s recommendations for shorter work hours.
“Our too long and physically demanding days and the emotional stress of having to defend my needs as a working pregnant woman, I began to experience Braxton Hicks contractions,” Carpenter revealed, admitting that she felt “powerless” and “alone” to address the misconduct.
Although Angel ran from 1999-2004, Carpenter cites that “years of therapy and the wake-up calls from the Time’s Up movement” were instrumental to her decision to speak up.
“With tears welling, I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to Ray and others for remaining private about my experience with Joss and the suffering it has caused me,” she wrote. “It is abundantly evident that Joss has persisted in his harmful actions, continuing to create wreckage in his wake. My hope now, by finally coming forward about these experiences, is to create space for the healing of others who I know have experienced similar serialized abused of power.”
She continued, “As a single mother whose family’s livelihood is dependent on my craft, I’m scared. Despite my dear about its impact on my future, I can no longer remain silent. This is overdue and necessary. It is time.”
Fans came out in droves to support the “Supernatural” actress, writing, “Thank you for sharing your truth Charisma! I always thought that Cordelia was wronged on Angel, and now it makes sense why. You are so beloved by this fan base and we’re all behind you!”
Another fan shared, “I know I don’t know you but I always believed Joss didn’t treat you right and abused his power. You’re incredibly brave and I’m thankful to be able to witness your amazing talent and continued bravery. You’re an icon Charisma.”
Even “Buffy” co-star Amber Benson came out to defend the actress, tweeting, “Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top. @AllCharisma is speaking truth and I support her 100%. There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later.”
Carpenter’s full statement can be read here.