A Few Good Men Speak up in Support of Charisma Carpenter and the Women of Buffy and Angel
Last Wednesday, Charisma Carpenter’s “my truth” post detailing the alleged toxic behavior, sexism, and aggression from Joss Whedon while on Buffy and Angel gained massive attention and support from many women who shared the set with her on Buffy. Amber Benson, Michelle Trachtenberg, Emma Caulfield, and Sarah Michelle Gellar spoke out to varying degrees calling out Whedon and acknowledging how toxic and traumatic their time on Buffy was. But it left us wondering where the men were speaking up about Whedon.
Since that time, several of Carpenter’s male co-stars have spoken up in support of her, and other men have made it clear that Whedon’s toxicity didn’t just apply to actors.
Two of Carpenter’s Angel co-stars, J. August Richards, who played Gunn, and David Boreanaz, who played the titular character, have spoken in support of Carpenter.
Sending you my love, @allcharisma. I know the feelings of vulnerability and fear that come with speaking your truth. As I said to you yesterday, I am here for you, however you need me. 🙏🏾❤️
— J. August Richards (@jaugustrichards) February 12, 2021
Love you. ❤️❤️❤️
— J. August Richards (@jaugustrichards) February 13, 2021
I know you’re there for me, David. I appreciate all you’ve done to demonstrate that support privately as well. Especially since Wednesday. -Thank you so much. ♥️
— charisma carpenter (@AllCharisma) February 15, 2021
It’s especially heartening to see that these men have reached out to Carpenter outside of social media and that Boreanaz may have stood up for Carpenter on set at the time.
Other men from the Buffy cast have also spoken up in support and to call out Whedon.
While I will always be honored to have played the character of Spike, the Buffy set was not without challenges. I do not support abuse of any kind, and am heartbroken to learn of the experiences of some of the cast. I send my love and support to all involved.
— James Marsters (@JamesMarstersOf) February 12, 2021
Sending love and support to @AllCharisma @amber_benson @RealMichelleT @SarahMGellar and all who have gone public about their toxic experiences on @BuffyTVS. I truly admire your bravery in speaking out.
— Danny Strong (@Dannystrong) February 13, 2021
So as not to center myself in the narrative, I thought it was important to leave space for the women and series regulars of BTVS to speak. But while I am here listening, I wanted to take a moment to send my love and support to the women of Buffy.
— Tom Lenk (@tomlenk) February 14, 2021
The show of support that was most damning for Whedon, however, didn’t come from an actor, it came from a writer who worked with Whedon on Firefly, Jose Molina.
“Casually cruel” is a perfect way of describing Joss. He thought being mean was funny. Making female writers cry during a notes session was especially hysterical. He actually liked to boast about the time he made one writer cry twice in one meeting. #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter https://t.co/SgPF1rgRby
— Jose Molina (@JoseMolinaTV) February 13, 2021
Molina co-hosts the excellent Children of Tendu podcast along with screenwriter and producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, which is a first-hand look at what it takes to be a television written and how TV is made (it’s an awesome peek inside the industry for anyone, not just writers). On that podcast, both hosts shared horror stories about bad bosses who bullied, ignored, or otherwise abused their rooms, and it’s sad but not surprising to think that many of those stories could have been about Whedon.
Other cast members from Buffy and Angel have remained conspicuously silent in the wake of Carpenter’s statement. Neither Alyson Hannigan, who played Willow on Buffy, nor her husband Alexis Denisof, who played Wesley on Buffy and Angel, have made any comments (or posted on social media at all since last week). Nor has Amy Acker, who played Fred on Angel and returned to the Whedon-verse on Dollhouse and the Whedon-directed Much Ado About Nothing. Nicholas Brendan, who played Xander on Buffy, has not spoken out but his social media indicates he has had medical issues since last week that have seen him in and out of the hospital.
Eliza Dushku, who played bad girl slayer Faith on Buffy and Angel and Echo on Dollhouse shared a post on Instagram. Dushku has spoken out about harassment on other sets in recent years as well.
View this post on Instagram
I hope that more people speak out in support of Carpenter and the women of Buffy, not just actors, but others who have worked with Whedon as well. And we’re still waiting for more people from Warner Bros. and the Justice League world to show support for Ray Fisher—who was Carpenter’s tipping point in the first place.
Speaking out against someone who is so beloved and whose legacy is so entrenched is hard. Many of the people who worked with Whedon have the success that they do right now due in part to their association with him and his work, and so calling him out can feel like tarnishing something that’s made their careers. But it’s also very important to do so, not just to show that there are consequences for Whedon’s bad behavior, but to discourage it across the industry.
Because Joss Whedon is far from the only terrible man in Holywood—he simply is getting attention right now and his exposure angers all the more because he built his brand on feminism. What we’re seeing now is a prime example of a big problem: men who claim to be feminist allies and to respect “strong women” but who really only just wanted power and control over women in the end.
(image: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AltaMed)
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