Joss Whedon: History of past allegations against director as he breaks silence over claims

The director has finally addressed the claims in a new interview that’s being widely criticised

Jacob Stolworthy
Tuesday 18 January 2022 10:07
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For years, Joss Whedon has been revered as the creator of beloved cult TV shows and the director of mega successful films, but this image has been shattered by allegations of bad behaviour.

The allegations made by Justice League star Ray Fisher and Charisma Carpenter repeat earlier claims made by those who have worked with Whedon over the years.

Carpenter, who played Cordelia in Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer before moving to its spin-off series Angel, came forward with her own story of “disturbing incidents” in response to Fisher’s account.

The actor detailed several alleged instances in which Whedon “abused his power” with her throughout her time on both shows, and accused him of “creating hostile and toxic work environments since his early career”.

After Carpenter posted the account on social media, several of her co-stars, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, shared their support and denounced Whedon.

Whedon declined to comment on the allegations until January 2021, in a new interview with New York Magazine.

Below, we run through all the past allegations and claims made against the TV creator and Avengers director.

August 2017: Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole

In 2017, Whedon’s ex-wife, Kai Cole, accused the writer-director of “deceiving” her for 15 years “so he could have everything he wanted”.

Writing forThe Wrap, in an essay calling him a "hypocrite preaching feminist ideals", Cole claimed that Whedon admitted to cheating on her for 10 years in a letter he wrote near the end of their marriage.

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The letter, she said, likened the infidelities to "killing" or "poisoning" her “subtly over years”.

Joss Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole accused him of 'deceiving' her for 15 years

Due to his campaigning for women’s rights and his creation of some of TV’s strongest female characters, many have expressed the belief that Whedon is a feminist. However, Cole alleged this was an act, adding that he “used [their] relationship as a shield… so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinise his writing as anything over than feminist".

At the time, Whedon’s representative said that his ex-wife’s claims had “inaccuracies and misrepresentations,” but ultimately declined to comment “out of respect” for Cole.

July 2020: Justice League actor Ray Fisher

In 2020, Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in Whedon’s Justice League, alleged that the director engaged in “gross, abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable” behaviour on the set of the 2017 film.

Fisher shared an archive video of himself calling Whedon a “great guy", writing: “I’d like to take a moment to forcefully retract every bit of this statement.”

His claims led to a WarnerMedia investigation into Whedon’s behaviour, which saw many actors who have worked with the director in the past, including Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, interviewed by officials.

While Gadot herself hasn’t shared her outright views on Whedon, she did tell the Los Angeles Times that she’d had her own “experience” with him on set of Justice League after he was recruited to replace original director Zack Snyder.

Ray Fisher's allegations led to a WarnerMedia investigation into Whedon's behaviour

Just last month, Fisher revealed that he had been removed from Warner Bros’ future Flash movie.

RELATED: Gal Gadot was interviewed in Justice League investigation following Ray Fisher allegations about Joss Whedon

Whedon had no comment on Fisher's initial allegations.

February 2021: Buffy and Angel star Charisma Carpenter

Carpenter’s allegations date back to when she first started working with Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997. However, she says that Whedon’s “cruel” nature became more apparent when she worked with him on spin-off series Angel, which started in 1999.

It has long been suspected that Carpenter was fired from Angel due to her sudden departure shortly after becoming pregnant.

On 10 February, 2021, Carpenter accused Whedon of fielding her calls upon learning she was having a baby, and that when he finally did agree to meet with her, he asked her “if [she] was going to keep it”.

She alleges that he “called her fat” when she was four months into her pregnancy, accused her of “sabotaging the show” and “unceremoniously fired [her] the following season” after she gave birth.

Charisma Carpenter spokes out against Whedon in support of Fisher

Carpenter wrote: “He manipulatively weaponised my womanhood and faith against me.” She added that Whedon’s alleged behaviour had ”triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still stuffer”.

The actor also revealed she had been interviewed by WarnerMedia following fisher's allegations against Whedon.

The Independent has contacted Whedon for comment.

February 2021: Other Buffy stars denounce Whedon

In the wake of Carpenter’s account, many of her co-stars have shared their support. Buffy’s lead star Sarah Michelle Gellar wrote: “While I am proud to have my name associated with Buffy Summers, I don’t want to be forever associated with the name Joss Whedon.”

'Buffy' star Sarah Michelle Gellar has distanced herself from Whedon

Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s younger sister, Dawn, shared Gellar’s post, writing: “Thank you @sarahmgellar for saying this. I am brave enough now as a 35 year old woman…. To repost this. Because. This must. Be known."

Amber Benson, who played Tara Maclay, wrote: "It was a toxic environment and it starts at the top. @AllCharisma is speaking truth and I support her 100 per cent. There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it twenty plus years later."

Previous comments made by Benson about Whedon’s decision to kill off her character have also been re-shared in the wake of Carpenter’s allegations.

Benson told Digital Spy that, while she was filming Buffy’s season five finale, Whedon pulled her to one side and, without any warning, told her: “Hey! Guess what? It’s so exciting! We’re going to kill your character!'

RELATED: Sarah Michelle Gellar and more Buffy stars respond to Joss Whedon allegations

The Independent has contacted Whedon for comment.

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