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Eliza Dushku is speaking out in solidarity with Charisma Carpenter after she accused Joss Whedon of “hostile and toxic” behavior while working on the hit shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
The actress, who played Faith on Buffy and its Angel spinoff, shared a statement on Instagram in which she expressed how her “heart aches” for Carpenter. “I’m so sorry you have held this for so long. Your post was powerful, painful, and painted a picture we’ll collectively never un-see or un-know. Thank you. I hadn’t known it and I won’t forget it,” she wrote.
She went on to write, “I frequently think of the saying, “We are as sick as our secrets.” Our secrets indeed make and keep us sick. What I’m learning more and more — and have personally found most valuable — is that profound healing can only come from naming and disclosing what actually happened, the necessary first step (once someone’s ready) to freeing ourselves from our secrets, untold truths which have kept us isolated, ashamed and held hostage.”
Dushku went on to say that “neglecting to ‘name’ the power/gender/sexual/racial abuse epidemic in the entertainment industry (and for that matter society in general), enables the abusers and only emboldens and ultimately fortifies abusive systems.”
She also expressed her hope that Carpenter and “countless others feel the solidarity and connection” they have “likely missed for too long.” “It starts and will end because of courageous truth-tellers like you. I admire, respect, and love you.”
Carpenter was an original series regular on The WB Network/UPN’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, playing high school student Cordelia Chase. She starred for the first three seasons on the series before her character went on to star opposite David Boreanaz in Buffy spinoff Angel. She was the female lead on Angel for four of its five seasons, returning as a guest star in its 100th episode in its final season.
In a lengthy message shared on her social media on Wednesday, Carpenter wrote of the show creator, “Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel,” she wrote. “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.”
She also said Whedon “was mean and biting, disparaging about others openly, and often played favorites.” The actress also alleged that when Whedon found out she was pregnant, she says, he asked the actress if she was “going to keep it” and “manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me.”
Buffy alums Sarah Michelle Gellar, Michelle Trachtenberg and Amber Benson also expressed their support to Carpenter following her statement.
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