Joss Whedon has come under fire in recent weeks for abusive environments on the sets of his classic TV shows, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and his less-celebrated film takeover, The Avengers. On February 10th, Buffy and Angel alum Charisma Carpenter spoke out on social media, alleging he “abused his power on numerous occasions,” including when he asked her while pregnant “if I was ‘going to keep it,’ and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me. He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me following the season once I gave birth.”
Variety did an in-depth investigation, interviewing 11 people who worked on the shows, all of whom reported that he was talented, but had a pattern of problematic behavior. They all spoke on condition of anonymity. Variety also reached out to actors, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Michelle Trachtenberg, Amber Benson, Eliza Dushku, David Boreanaz and Alyson Hannigan, all of whom declined to participate. Whedon also declined to comment. Most of these actors did publicly support her allegations on social media.
All of this came after Justice League's Ray Fisher said he acted in a “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” manner on the set of the 2017 superhero movie, allegations supported by Jason Momoa and Gal Gadot. On Saturday, Fisher accused DC Films president Walter Hamada of interfering with an investigation into his conduct.
“Do ya’ll remember that time Walter Hamada and @wbpictures tried to destroy a Black man’s credibility, and publicly delegitimize a very serious investigation, with lies in the press? But hey, Black Superman…” Fisher tweeted Saturday, referencing the news that Ta-Nehisi Coates would write a Superman movie for Warner Bros.
WarnerMedia responded with a statement backing Hamada, and also released a separate statement from a retired federal judge who oversaw one of the investigations into the Justice League reshoots.
“I am disappointed by continued public statements made suggesting that Walter Hamada in any way interfered with the Justice League investigation. He did not,” investigator and former federal judge Katherine B. Forrest said in a statement. “I interviewed him extensively on more than one occasion and specifically interviewed him concerning his very limited interaction with Mr. Fisher. I found Mr. Hamada credible and forthcoming. I concluded that he did nothing that impeded or interfered with the investigation. To the contrary, the information that he provided was useful and advanced the investigation.”
REPORT ON WHEDON
Whedon created a “cult of personality” around himself, according to the Variety report. He conducted affairs with women on-set, and many days required 21 hour commitments from actors, with sets wrapping at 4 a.m.
Gellar, the big star on Buffy, reportedly had a “severed relationship” with Whedon, to the point that she didn’t want him mentioned in her presence. He also, sources said, “managed up,” meaning he behaved differently with his bosses than his staff.
“He created this girl-power character with Buffy Summers that women rallied around,” says a person who worked on Buffy. “Finally, we got to see a woman kicking **s. It was a great role model for women and girls. That was the space that he was proud to occupy and really pioneered. The idea that he had this darker side is creepy and upsetting — and hard to square with, given his work.”
WarnerMedia investigated Fisher’s allegations and said that “remedial action has been taken.” Many believe his announced departure from HBO’s The Nevers was that “remedial action,” though that has never been confirmed. Whedon does not currently have any announced projects.