Hollywood director Joss Whedon accused of 'traumatising' abuse by Buffy star Charisma Carpenter

Hollywood director Joss Whedon has been accused of "traumatising" misconduct and creating a "hostile and toxic work environment" on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

Actor Charisma Carpenter alleges Whedon "abused his power" in ways that disempowered her and alienated her from her peers, even triggering a life-long chronic physical condition as a result of the "disturbing incidents" he was involved in. 

In a lengthy statement posted to Twitter, Carpenter called Whedon "casually cruel", claiming he called her "fat" to her colleauges when she was pregnant, and on finding out she was expecting, berated her about whether she would keep the child. 

"[He] manipulatively weaponised my womanhood and faith against me. He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accused me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me the following season once I gave birth," she wrote. 

Carpenter said that she was asked to report to work at 1:00am while six months pregnant after her doctor recommended she shorten her work hours. 

"Back then, I felt powerless and alone," she wrote, adding that she felt "no other option" than to bear the brunt of the mistreatment and carry on, being the primary breadwinner of a growing family. 

"Unfortunately, all this was happening during one of the most wonderful times in new motherhood. All that promise and joy sucked right out. And Joss was the vampire." 

Carpenter said the memories of the abuse had "weighed on her soul like bricks for nearly half of her life," and it was only after years of therapy and motivation from the Time's Up movement that she felt she could finally speak out. 

"I muted myself in shame and conditioned silence," she said. 

The now-50-year-old actress said she felt a sense of responsibility to Ray Fisher and others who had spoken out against Whedon recently. Fisher, who starred in Whedon's 2017 film Justice League, accused the director of being "gross, abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable on set," which prompted an investigation into the production by Warner Media. 

"It has taken me so long to muster the courage to make this statement publicly," Carpenter concluded. 

"Despite my fear about its impact on my future, I can no longer remain silent. This is overdue and necessary. It is time," she wrote. 

Fisher retweeted Carpenter's claims, caller her "one of the bravest people I know" and thanking her for participating in the Justice League investigation. 

Carpenter also recieved support from her fellow Buffy the Vampire Slayer castmates Amber Benson and Sarah Michelle Gellar. 

Benson agreed that the set of Buffy was "a toxic environment" that "started at the top". 

"There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years late," she wrote on Twitter with the hashtag #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter. 

Meanwhile, Michelle Gellar said that she didn't want her name to be forever associated with Joss Whedon. 

"I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out," she wrote. 

Whedon has yet to publicly respond to the latest allegations.