Buffy Star Nicholas Brendon Explains How He Was Hurt by Joss Whedon

For fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, we can't stress enough how much you need to get a copy of Evan Ross Katz's recently-released Into Every Generation a Slayer Is Born: How Buffy Staked Our Hearts (you can purchase it here)- an exploration of the franchise's impact on pop culture and society as well as a number of failings that the show suffered from (including directly addressing the abuse accusations leveled by many connected with the show against series creator Joss Whedon). In February 2021, franchise star Charisma Carpenter went public with accusations against Whedon that involved years of unprofessional and abusive behavior. Carpenter's posts would bring out a number of others who had worked with Whedon in the past to offer Carpenter support and/or share their own allegations against him, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Michelle Trachtenberg, Amber Benson, Emma Caulfield, Anthony Head, Eliza Dushku, James Marsters, J. August Richards & more. And then earlier this year, Whedon took part in "The Undoing of Joss Whedon" by New York Magazine writer Lila Shapiro. For a look at our thoughts on the interview, check out our coverage here and here, but the piece did little to help the situation.

Buffy Star Nicholas Brendon Explains How He Was Hurt by Joss Whedon
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (Image: WarnerMedia)

Now, one of the many things that impress us about Katz's book is the sheer number of familiar names he had access to for interviews. Along with Gellar, Carpenter, Caulfield, Benson, Marsters, and Head, the author spoke with co-stars Seth Green, Marc Blucas, Nicholas Brendon, Danny Strong, Tom Lenk, Bianca Lawson, Julie Benz, Clare Kramer, K. Todd Freeman, Sharon Ferguson; and with writers Douglas Petrie, Jane Espenson, and Drew Z. Greenberg. That turns out to be a big help when Katz offers up a timeline of the situation in "Chapter 12: The Joss of It All." And when it comes to Whedon, Brendon's perspectives appear to be striking contradictions that, at least outwardly, Brendon has been able to reconcile.

For example, Brendon had this to say about the accusations leveled against Whedon by Ray Fisher and Kai Cole: "Hearing the stories about Joss, I'm like, 'Jesus Christ, fucking people. Like, grow a pair of fucking testicles.' It's okay if he raises his voice, you know what I mean? It's okay if he has a passion. If he's fingering your pussy like Donald Trump, then we have a problem here. But it's just bullshit. It's this cancel culture. "Fucking political correctness, good God. It kills me." But those comments came prior to Carpenter going public, with Brendon's comments much more tempered since that time.

As for his personal relationship with the "Buffy" creator, Brendon also presents a duality in his thought. While readily admitting his hurt and anger over Whedon not being there for him in the past during his tough times, Brendon still speaks fondly of him. "Me and Joss have a special relationship. We always will," Brendon explained. "Joss is a walking conundrum. He's like that Levi Strauss with the two horses pulling the jeans in opposite directions. He's got such a confidence and an ability and an ego because of his immense talent. But he's also so very insecure when it comes to girls or anything like that."

But Katz notes that for two people with a "special relationship," it was curious why they didn't stay in touch. As Brendon sees it, Whedon's "secret" about the 2017 Entertainment Weekly reunion is what may have led to it. Revealing that at one point the two went for a walk, Brendon says that Whedon apologized for not being there for Brendon. But while he was "okay" with that, it was an entirely different topic that apparently set things off. "The thing that I wasn't okay with was that he was holding another secret, and that was that I was not invited to the photoshoot. So when I found that out, there was an anger that kind of boiled up a little bit inside me, Brendon explained. And yet, Brendon admits to still thinking about the man he considers a friend every day even after the hurt.  "I think about Joss every day. It's probably why I cried earlier," Brendon revealed. "I was hurt by Joss, by him not being there and then also having this other secret."

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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