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Sarah Michelle Gellar Discusses ‘Buffy’s “Extremely Toxic Male Set”

Buffy cast photo

There’s a certain level of bravery that comes with exposing toxic working conditions. Recently, Sarah Michelle Gellar gave us what she doesn’t owe anyone, and that’s her feelings and experiences working on the set of Buffy. Previously, she supported others who had spoken out, most notably her co-star Charisma Carpenter, who spoke out about what she endured behind the scenes of Angel, Buffys spinoff. Gellar also expressed support for Ray Fisher, who shared what he suffered while working with Joss Whedon on the Justice League set. Sarah Michelle Gellar telling her own story adds even more to the conversation.

During Power of Storytelling: Producers Roundtable at the The Wrap’s Power of Women Summit in Los Angeles, Sarah Michelle Gellar said the following:

“For so long, I was on a set that I think was known for being an extremely toxic male set, and so that was ingrained in my head that that was what all sets were like, and that women were pitted against each other—that if women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that down.”

“And now that I’ve had this opportunity to work with so many more women and men that support women as well, I realized how easy an experience it can be, but … unfortunately we’re still in that place where all of those departments a lot of times need to be women for us to have a voice.”

Recognizing that actors are people and that set experiences aren’t always positive is crucial. We can love and cherish a series like Buffy for what it has done for us personally, but we must stand behind individuals that speak out against shitty and toxic producers, writers, and so on. Joss Whedon and any others Sarah Michelle Gellar is referencing in her statement aren’t exempt. They must be held accountable in the TV and film industry.

Gellar’s statement may be heartbreaking for her fans to read, but she’s no longer scared to tell her story and help others tell theirs. Her bravery is something we should applaud as her fans, and hopefully, as feminists. Take what the icon herself said at that summit and recognize the importance of her story. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done in the industry, and women—especially those in historically marginalized groups—shouldn’t be silenced.

(via: The Wrap; featured image: Walt Disney Television)

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Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a blerd writer and visual artist who loves horror, anime and all things strange. Her writing has appeared in Pink Advocate, Dread Central and more. For more, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theblackbuffy.