Speaking in an interview with New York Magazine, Hollywood director Joss Whedon, the creator of the hit television show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” admitted to having numerous affairs with actresses on the show, saying he felt terrible about them in retrospect because “it messes up the power dynamic,” and he had felt he “had” to sleep with the women because he was “powerless to resist.”
Whedon also insisted that he had feared not having sex with the various women because if he didn’t, he would “always regret it.”
In 2017, Whedon’s ex-wife, Kai Cole, wrote at The Wrap:
Fifteen years later, when he was done with our marriage and finally ready to tell the truth, he wrote me, “When I was running ‘Buffy,’ I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women. It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth.”
Despite understanding, on some level, that what he was doing was wrong, he never conceded the hypocrisy of being out in the world preaching feminist ideals, while at the same time, taking away my right to make choices for my life and my body based on the truth. He deceived me for 15 years, so he could have everything he wanted. I believed, everyone believed, that he was one of the good guys, committed to fighting for women’s rights, committed to our marriage, and to the women he worked with. But I now see how he used his relationship with me as a shield, both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist.
New York Magazine quoted a “high-level member of the Buffy production team” recalling an incident in which she was working in her office when Whedon and one of the actresses came in and rolled around the floor behind her while they were making out. “They would bang into my chair. … How can you concentrate? It was gross,” she said, adding that incidents like that happened more than once, prompting her to quit. She concluded, “These actions proved he had no respect for me and my work.”
Actress Michelle Trachtenberg, who was a teenager when she appeared on the show, noted that a rule was implemented to keep Whedon from being alone in a room with her. “During the seventh season, when Trachtenberg was 16, Whedon called her into his office for a closed-door meeting. The person does not know what happened, but recalled Trachtenberg was ‘shaken; afterward,” New York Magazine reported.
Whedon surmised in the interview that the possible reason for his troubles communicating in his work derived from him being “too nice.” He claimed people had been using “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.”