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Buffy Charisma Carpenter accuses Joss Whedon of abusing power in open letter

Actress Charisma Carpenter, who plays Cordelia Chase in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, posted an open letter on her Twitter account, where she declared her support for Ray Fisher and spoke out against Joss Whedon. The actress has said she suffered threats and curses while working with the director on Buffy and spin-off Angel, in addition to claiming that Whedon psychologically abused her while she was fragile, during and after her pregnancy.

In the tweet where she shares her testimony, the actress simply wrote “My truth”, with the hashtag #IStandWithRayFisher below, in solidarity with the actor. Carpenter’s letter also alleges that the director’s behavior was recurrent in the period he worked with him, while she was still new to the arts. Carpenter says Whedon “found her misconduct amusing,” though her actions caused anxiety and made the actress feel estranged from her cast mates:

“While he found his misbehaving funny, it only heightened my anxiety about performance, discouraging me and pulling me away from my colleagues. The disturbing incidents generated a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer. It is with a heavy, pounding heart that I say that I have dealt with this in isolation and, at times, in a destructive manner.

Carpenter continues, mentioning Ray Fisher and indicating that the actor’s position played a role in motivating her to share what she suffered, decades after the events. The actress says the actor’s reports devastated her as she knows Whedon’s record for cruelty. She also said the manager “has created hostile and toxic work environments since the start of his career,” and says he can make this statement because he has experienced the situation firsthand, on several occasions:

“Last summer, when Ray Fisher publicly accused Joss of abusive and unprofessional behavior towards the cast and crew during the 2017 Justice League remakes, it destroyed me. Joss has always been cruel by chance. He has created hostile and toxic work environments since the start of his career. I know why I experienced it firsthand. Many times.”

The letter then goes on to present Carpenter’s examples of the abuse he suffered because of Whedon, breaches of threats:

“Like the continuous passive-aggressive threats to fire me, something that erodes a new actress’s self-esteem. And continually calling myself fat when talking to my coworkers, when I was 4 months pregnant, weighing 126 pounds. He was mean and ironic, openly denigrating others and often retaining his favorites, pitting people against each other to compete and want their attention and approval.

Carpenter’s spirituality also made her a target, according to the account. The director questioned and censored her about a rosary tattoo the actress had done because of her beliefs, in addition to using Charisma Carpenter’s faith to attack her about her pregnancy:

“Joss intentionally refused multiple calls from my agents, making it impossible to contact him to inform him that I was pregnant. Finally, when Joss realized the situation, he requested a meeting with me. At that closed-door meeting he asked me if “I was going to be with him [o bebê]“And I manipulatively used my femininity and my faith as weapons against me. He went on, attacking my character, poking fun at my religious beliefs, accusing me of sabotaging the show, then unceremoniously firing me in the season after I gave birth.

Carpenter’s pregnancy seems to have been where the actress suffered the most from the director’s attitudes, because in addition to ignoring her, trying to manipulate her and even laughing at her, Whedon is said to have deliberately acted for him. do harm, even affecting his cheers:

“When I was six months pregnant, I was asked to go to work at 1 am after my doctor recommended reducing my work time. Due to long, physically demanding days and the emotional stress of having to advocate for my needs as a pregnant woman at work, I started having Braxton Hicks contractions. It was clear to me that the morning call was a retaliatory measure.

In the second part of her letter, the actress discusses the circumstances that have kept her silent all these years, saying that she felt lonely and helpless, besides having to worry about her baby, being the main one provider of the family. Carpenter’s position is common to many victims of abuse, who don’t feel safe enough to make a report, primarily due to fear of reprisal and being hurt:

“I made excuses for his behavior and suppressed my own pain. I even spoke publicly at conventions that I would work with him again. It is only recently, after years of therapy and having been awakened by the Time’s Up movement, that I understand the complexities of this demoralized thinking.

Carpenter’s position also draws attention to how victims are discredited while abusers go unpunished, and how this affects the psyche of those who are abused:

“It is impossible to understand the psyche without having been abused. Our society and our industry slander victims and glorify abusers for their actions. The burden falls on victims of violence, who must contend with the expectation of acceptance and adaptation in order to be employable. He has no responsibility for the offender who advances unscathed. No regrets. Without remorse.

Despite this, the letter also expresses the actress’s regret for having been silent for so long. She demonstrates a sense of guilt for not having spoken publicly about the subject before, expressing the question that others perhaps should not have suffered similar working conditions if she had taken a stand. Still, Carpenter says he hopes his testimony can still help others who have gone through similar situations:

“With tears in my eyes, I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to Ray and the others for leaving my experience with Joss and the pain it caused me to private. It is evident that Joss persisted in his damaging actions, continuing to leave destruction behind. My hope now, when I finally talk about these experiences, is to create a safe space to heal other people who I know have gone through similar situations of serial abuse of power.

Carpenter also reveals that he was involved in WarnerMedia’s Justice League investigations and points out that he views Fisher’s dismissal as absurd:

“I recently participated in the WarnerMedia Justice League Inquiry because I believe Ray is a person of integrity who speaks the truth. His firing as Flash Cyborg was the last straw for me. Although I am not shocked, it hurts me deeply. I am concerned and saddened that in 2021, professionals must ALWAYS choose between reporting in a work environment and job security.

The letter ends with the actress’ words that she still fears for her future and job opportunities, especially since her family depends on her to support herself. Despite this, Carpenter said he could no longer remain silent and that the time had come to go public with his testimony.

Actress Amber Benson, who worked with Charisma Carpenter on Buffy

Another Buffy actress, Amber Benson, has expressed support for Carpenter. Tara Maclay’s performer on the show, Benson shared her colleague’s letter with the following comment:

“Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top. @AllCharisma is telling the truth and I support her 100%. Much damage was done during this time and many of us continue it more than twenty years later.
#IStandWithRayFisher #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter »

Previously, two stuntmen who also worked on Buffy had reported that Whedon even threatened their relationship and career while working on the show, claiming the director sentenced stuntwoman Sophia Crawford to end the relationship or be fired.

Ray Fisher and Justice League Investigations

Ray Fisher as Cyborg in Justice League

The movement of actors and actresses sharing their bad experiences working with Joss Whedon is due to the denunciations made by actor Ray Fisher, Justice League Cyborg. On July 1 of last year, Fisher openly stated on his Twitter account that Whedon’s treatment of the film’s crew and cast was “disgusting, abusive, unprofessional and totally unacceptable.”

Ultimately, Fisher’s serious accusations led WarnerMedia to open an investigation into the director’s conduct, interviewing members of the cast and production for five weeks before an independent investigation was launched. It is possible that the investigation, in addition to seeking more detailed information about Whedon’s behavior in the Justice League, sought to learn more about the director’s background, since Charisma Carpenter says in her letter that he collaborated. to the process.

Fisher remained determined to move the case forward, even though he suffered retaliation. During the investigation, the actor denounced the fact that key witnesses were not wanted and continued to insist that those who allowed the director’s fault to go unpunished should also be held responsible. officials, claiming that Geoff Johns, Jon Berg and Walter Hamada were also at fault.

Other members of the Justice League cast have shown solidarity with Ray Fisher, with Jason Momoa saying the cast was called “shit” during re-recordings of the film, and saying serious things had happened . Actress Gal Gadot said she was not present on re-recordings with the rest of the cast, but her experience “was not the best”, even revealing that she brought the situation to the fore. his superiors.

In an interview with Forbes, Fisher said there were several issues during filming and he suspected that racism was, in part, the reason he was treated this way:

“Racism was only one of the problems with the photo retakes. There have been discussions, threats, coercion, insults, dangerous working conditions, disparagement and insults that you do not believe. What has set my soul on fire and forced me to speak openly about Joss Whedon in recent months is that I was told that he was ordered to change an actor’s color during post-production because that he didn’t like the tone of her skin. Color. “

After months of whistleblowing by the Cyborg interpreter, WarnerMedia’s investigations were completed about a month ago, with a statement from the company indicating that corrective action was taken. One of those measures, according to Fisher, was the departure of Joss Whedon from The Nevers, which the actor said was the result of the investigation.

Despite this, the actor ended up being aggrieved by his positions. Although his character was going to have a big role in the Flash movie, he was changed and Fisher was fired, as the actor himself revealed in an open letter posted to his Twitter account. It was this event that Carpenter referred to in his letter as one of the main motivators that led him to share his experience now.

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