One of the most influential shows of its time, 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 panel discussion at the recent Power of Women Summit, hosted by The Wrap. Appearing on The Power of Storytelling: Producers’ Roundtable, the actress discussed buffy without mentioning the show or Whedon by name.
“For so long I was on a set that I think was known to be an extremely toxic male set,” Gellar said. “So it was ingrained in my head that this was how all the sets were, and the women were pitted against each other – that if the women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that low.”
“Now that I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many other women and men who also support women, I’ve realized what an easy experience it can be,” she continued. “Unfortunately, we’re still in this place where all of these departments often have to be women for us to have a voice.”
Reports on Whedon’s behavior behind the scenes of buffy and its spin-off series, Angel, burst into public opinion last year, when Gellar co-star Charisma Carpenter released a lengthy statement on social media detailing her negative experiences with the creator. “Joss Whedon abused his power many times while working together on the sets of buffy the vampire slayer and Angel‘, Carpenter alleged, writing that Whedon called her ‘fat’ while pregnant with his son, and regularly ‘pitting people against each other to compete and compete for her attention and approval’.
Following Carpenter’s revelations, Gellar released a statement on Instagram distancing himself from Whedon. “While I am proud to have my name associated with Buffy Summers, I do not wish to be forever associated with the name Joss Whedon,” Gellar wrote, adding, “I will make no further statements at this time.”
the buffy the news followed Ray Fisher’s own allegations of Whedon’s ‘unacceptable’ behavior on set in 2017 Justice League, the DC All-Star team movie that the filmmaker took over after original director Zack Snyder left the film. In her statement, Carpenter revealed that she was interviewed as part of Warner Bros.’ subsequent investigation, which ultimately concluded with Whedon’s departure from her HBO series. Nevers.
Earlier this year, Whedon sat down with New York magazine for his first major interview since buffy the allegations broke. Responding to Carpenter’s statement, the writer/director denied calling her “fat,” but admitted he didn’t always act “right” around her. “Most of my experiences with Charisma have been delightful and charming,” Whedon said. But he had little to nothing to say about his past or present relationship with Gellar, indicating that their estrangement continues.