Sarah Michelle Gellar discussed working on an “extremely toxic male set” and seemed to be referencing her time working under Joss Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Gellar’s comments came a year after her co-star Charisma Carpenter accused Whedon of abusing his power on the set.
While Gellar didn’t directly name Whedon or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, her comments were eerily similar to her co-stars’ claims of the set being toxic. Her comments detailed the disturbing nature of the toxicity as well.
According to her, the set tried to pit the women in the project against one another. This was done to avoid the women potentially being heard by banding together.
Friendships and bonds between the women on set were seen as dangerous or something that could become “too powerful.” As a result, the women were manipulated into disliking one another.
It wasn’t until Gellar left the set and started working with other women and men that she realized how wrong the toxic male set was. On sets with women or with men who support women, Gellar found that working will fellow females could be an “easy” experience.
However, she noted that even today there are still sets that struggle with women being heard. Sometimes, sets do need to be predominantly female just to ensure that women have a voice.
What happened on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Gellar has now seemingly joined the growing number of Buffy the Vampire Slayer stars who have spoken out against Whedon. The show attained critical acclaim before concluding in 2003, but things were seemingly not well under the surface.
Carpenter was one of the first to speak out against Whedon, shortly after Ray Fisher accused Whedon of workplace abuse on the set of Justice League. She, too, alleged that Whedon had abused his power and accused him of cruel behavior.
The disturbing allegations included him threatening to fire her, calling her “fat” during her pregnancy, and firing her after she gave birth to her child. Her co-stars quickly reshared her statement and echoed her allegations of the environment being toxic.
Amber Benson and Michelle Trachtenberg, in particular, spoke out in support of Carpenter. Benson stated that Carpenter was “speaking truth” and alleged that a lot of the cast was still processing the damage that had been done to them on that set.
Trachtenberg also supported Carpenter, stating that Whedon’s behavior was “not appropriate.”
Spike actor James Marsters also detailed a disturbing incident in which Whedon pushed him against the wall and yelled in his face, apparently angered that Masters’ character was popular.
Sophia Crawford and Jeff Pruitt, who worked on the stunt team on the show, also detailed Whedon’s controlling and threatening behavior on set. Both had been threatened with being fired, and Whedon also insinuated he would blacklist them.
Joss Whedon abuse allegations explained
The abuse allegations from the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer arose after Fisher first called out Whedon for his conduct. In 2020, he accused Whedon of “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” behavior while reshooting Justice League.
Shortly after Fisher levied his accusations against Whedon, several of his Justice League co-stars backed up his claims. Jason Momoa agreed that the cast was treated badly and that some “serious stuff went down.”
Kevin Smith also claimed that Whedon trashed Zack Snyder and made disparaging remarks about him and his work on the set of Justice League, too. Snyder was initially supposed to direct Justice League but stepped down after the tragic loss of his daughter.
Warner Bros. launched an investigation but concluded it by vaguely stating “remedial action” had been taken. As for Whedon, he denied the claims and, in the process, called Fisher, a bad actor and claimed that Gadot didn’t understand English and had misinterpreted his words.
However, more accusations have continued to surface against him, with Gellar now seemingly breaking her silence on his workplace conduct.