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Joss Whedon denies allegations of "toxic" on-set behavior

Joss Whedon has broken his silence over allegations of creating a "toxic" environment on the sets of multiple films and television shows. The "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator spoke with New York magazine's Vulture for a detailed profile, in which he denied allegations of inappropriate and cruel behavior from several actors, including Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot and Charisma Carpenter.

Monday's profile is the first time Whedon has commented in depth on the myriad allegations against him. Whedon is quoted as saying that his detractors used "every weaponizable word of the modern era to make it seem like I was an abusive monster," adding, "I think I'm one of the nicer showrunners that's ever been."

In 2020, Fisher, who played Cyborg in 2017's "Justice League" — which Whedon stepped in to direct after the original director, Zack Snyder, had to take a leave of absence — accused Whedon of misconduct, "blatant racism" and purposefully downplaying his character's role in the film. 

Whedon denied Fisher's claims of racism, saying none the actor's accusations were "either true or merited discussing." 

"We're talking about a malevolent force," Whedon said. "We're talking about a bad actor in both senses."

On Monday, Fisher tweeted a response, saying, "Looks like Joss Whedon got to direct an endgame after all… Rather than address all of the lies and buffoonery today—I will be celebrating the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tomorrow the work continues."

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" Beijing Premiere
Actor Robert Downey Jr., director Joss Whedon and actor Mark Ruffalo attend "Avengers: Age of Ultron" premiere at Indigo Mall on April 19, 2015 in Beijing, China. Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

Whedon also denied claims from Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman in several DC Comics movies, including "Justice League," that he "threatened" her career. He called the incident a misunderstanding because "English is not her first language."  

Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase on both "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its spinoff, "Angel," tweeted a statement in February 2021 in support of Fisher, echoing his claims that Whedon made his actors and producer uncomfortable on set. 

Carpenter alleged that Whedon "abused his power on numerous occasions" and said that, "while he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate" her from her fellow actors. She also claimed that after she became pregnant, the Whedon called her fat and asked if she was "going to keep it." 

"The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer," she added. 

Several "Buffy" cast and crew members, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, shared statements in support of Carpenter, echoing her claims that Whedon made the set "toxic" with his inappropriate behavior 

In response to the allegations on the set of "Buffy," Whedon said in the Vulture profile, "I was young. I yelled, and sometimes you had to yell. This was a very young cast, and it was easy for everything to turn into a cocktail party." 

Whedon denied Carpenter's view of events, but did say he was "not mannerly." 

"I did not call her fat," he said. "Of course I didn't."

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