On March 10, 1997, a television show premiered on The WB that would go on to influence and inspire generations of women over the course of six years and seven seasons. To say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer (with a lead played by the amazing Sarah Michelle Gellar) is as impactful now as it has ever been would not be an understatement considering how well-received the cast is at conventions (in-person or online) and how successful spinoffs like BOOM! Studios comic book "Buffyverse" has been- with 2018 seeing news of a second spinoff in the works with Monica Owusu-Breen as showrunner. But today's anniversary is a bittersweet one, with the cast and fandom faced with the difficult task of separating the show and characters they love so much from the disturbing allegations that have been made public against series creator Joss Whedon– first, Buffy and Angel star Charisma Carpenter and then by others.
Taking to Twitter, Carpenter retweeted a tweet honoring the show's premiere 24 years ago followed by a line saying the show was essentially "resetting the culture." Carpenter expressed what she was hoping for in her retweet, writing, 'Hopefully, a cultural reset twice? The second reset generated by the very women who breathed life into the characters created on the page. -Ironically." Carpenter followed that up with a second tweet, further writing, "We benefit greatly as a society when we continue to evolve by becoming more inclusive + more empathetic toward each other. Also when basic checks & balances are honored in the workplace."
After living with the experience for "nearly two decades" before speaking up, Carpenter alleged in social media posts earlier this year that, "Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working on the sets of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel.' While he found his conduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers. The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer. It is with a beating, heavy heart that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively." You can read Carpenter's entire statement below, where the actress goes on to offer examples of her allegations as well as revealing that she took part in WarnerMedia's investigation into Justice League star Ray Fisher's claims against Whedon.
Here's a look at the Buffy and Angel star's original tweets:
On July 1, 2020, Fisher aka Cyborg took to Twitter to accuse Whedon of being abusive on the 2017 set not long after Whedon took over from Zack Snyder (who left the production due to a family tragedy), and that two other executives helped enable Whedon's alleged actions. WarnerMedia opened an investigation into Fisher's allegations, but in early September the company claimed that Fished wasn't cooperating with third-party investigators Fisher denied those claims, while friends co-stars such as Jason Mamoa began publically supporting Fisher and demanding WarnerMedia take action.
Then on November 24, word came down from Whedon that he was stepping away from his upcoming HBO series The Nevers. Whedon cited "the level of commitment required moving forward, combined with the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic" as being a major factor in his decision. HBO confirmed in a brief statement that it had parted ways with the show's creator, writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner. "We have parted ways with Joss Whedon. We remain excited about the future of The Nevers and look forward to its premiere," wrote the cable network in a statement.
Gellar, Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers), Amber Benson (Tara Maclay), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Anthony Head (Rupert Giles), Eliza Dushku (Faith), James Marsters (Spike), J. August Richards (Charles Gunn), David Boreanaz (Angel), Amy Acker (Fred), Nicholas Brendon (Xander), and writers Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) and Jose Molina (Firefly), took to social media to offer Carpenter support.