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Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Sarah Michelle Gellar speaks out on ‘extremely toxic male’ set early in her career

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress said that women were “pitted against each other” on the show  (Handout)
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress said that women were “pitted against each other” on the show (Handout)

Sarah Michelle Gellar has discussed her experience on a “toxic” set when she was catapulted into the spotlight in the 1990s.

The 45-year-old, who found fame on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, detailed her time in a male-dominated environment early on in her career and claimed that women were “pitted against each other”.

Although she didn’t name the project, she explained that female friendships were discouraged because they were too “powerful”.

Speaking at the Power of Storytelling: Producers Roundtable at the TheWrap’s Power of Women Summit, she shared: “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, and that women were pitted against each other – that if women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that down.”

The Cruel Intentions star explained how this informed the rest of her career and what it means for the future of women in film.

The star pictured with her Buffy co-stars Nicholas Brendon , Alyson Hannigan, and Charisma Carpenter (Getty Images)
The star pictured with her Buffy co-stars Nicholas Brendon , Alyson Hannigan, and Charisma Carpenter (Getty Images)

She continued: "Now that I’ve had this opportunity to work with so many more women and men that support women as well, I realised how easy an experience it can be, but… 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.”

The Hollywood star’s remarks come after she spoke out in support of her former co-star Charisma Carpenter, who made allegations against show creator Joss Whedon that he created a toxic work environment on the set of the show.

Gellar, who played Buffy from 1997 to 2003, posted on Instagram in February 2021: “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.

“I am more focused on raising my family and surviving a pandemic currently, so I will not be making any further statements at this time.

“But I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out.”

Gellar’s former co-star made accusations against their show runner Joss Whedon (pictured) (Getty)
Gellar’s former co-star made accusations against their show runner Joss Whedon (pictured) (Getty)

Carpenter, who played Cordelia on Buffy and its spinoff series, Angel, accused the show runner of “abusing his power” as the show's creator and executive producer in a Twitter post in February 2021.

She also alleged Whedon called her “fat” when she was pregnant, and claimed he would often try to “pit” cast members against each other to “compete and vie for his attention and approval”.

The Buffy show runner addressed the allegations in a lengthy interview with New York magazine earlier this year and denied he had ever called Carpenter “fat”, but admitted he sometimes “had to yell”.

The Standard has contacted Joss Whedon’s rep for comment.