Sarah Michelle Gellar Recalls Working on ‘Toxic Male Set’

USA News World
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar recalled working on an “extremely toxic male set.”
  • She said women on the series were “pitted against each other.”
  • Gellar’s costar previously called out Joss Whedon for his behavior on the set of “Buffy.”

“For so long, I was on a set that I think was known for being an extremely toxic male set, and so that was ingrained in my head that that was what all sets were like,” she said during the summit’s producers panel (starting around the 9-minute mark).

The star went on to say that women in the cast and crew were pitted against each other. Although she didn’t specify the name of the series, it was a seeming reference to her time on the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” set. Representatives for Whedon and 20th Century Television did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

“Women were pitted against each other — that if women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that down,” she said.

The actor then explained that she’s since worked in much better environments than the ones she encountered early in her career, but that women still often don’t have a voice on certain sets.

“And now that I’ve had this opportunity to work with so many more women and men that support women as well, I realized how easy an experience it can be,” she said. “Unfortunately we’re still in that place where all of those departments a lot of times need to be women for us to have a voice.”

While “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is loved around the world for its dark supernatural horror and well-written characters, there have been a number of allegations against creator Joss Whedon’s on-set behavior and his treatment of the cast.

Back in 2021, Gellar’s co-star Charisma Carpenter said Whedon created a hostile environment on the set of “Buffy.”

The “Cordelia Chase” actor tweeted a statement saying Whedon was “casually cruel” and called her fat when she was pregnant. The star also alleged that she was “unceremoniously” fired after giving birth to her son in 2003. Representatives for Whedon did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at the time.

Carpenter said that she felt able to discuss her experiences with Whedon when “Justice League” star Ray Fisher accused him of abusive behavior in 2020. The Cyborg actor told Forbes that Whedon changed “the complexion of an actor of color” because he “didn’t like the color of their skin tone.” Fisher’s co-stars Jason Momoa and Gal Gadot have also spoken out about their treatment on the set, with Gadot telling Israel’s N12 News network that Whedon “threatened” to damage her career.

Whedon later responded to the allegations when speaking to Vulture, calling Fisher a “malevolent force” as well as “a bad actor in both senses.” In response to Gadot’s accusations, Whedon told Vulture she misunderstood him.

“I don’t threaten people. Who does that?” Whedon said. “English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech.”

Gadot responded to Vulture via email saying: “I understood perfectly.”

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