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Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar made references to a “toxic” workplace environment from her past during a speech at The Wrap’s Power Women Summit in Los Angeles.
The 45-year-old star didn’t specify what past set she was referring to during the speech but said it left a lasting impression on her.
“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,” Gellar said. She then claimed “women were pitted against each other” on purpose, per Fox News.
“If women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that down,” the “Cruel Intentions” star continued.
While Gellar didn’t name the set she was speaking of, other people involved in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” in which Gellar starred from 1997 to 2003, have been openly critical of working with the show’s creator, Joss Whedon.
In February 2021, her co-star Charisma Carpenter said of Whedon, “Joss has a history of being casually cruel. He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly.”
After Carpenter’s comments made headlines, Gellar shared a statement via social media that said in part, “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.” She then said she had no further statements and hasn’t elaborated on her experiences on the show since then.
Carpenter also accused Whedon of targeting her for her faith and eventually firing her after she had a baby.
“‘Casually cruel’ is a perfect way of describing Joss,” writer Jose Molina agreed at the time. “He thought being mean was funny. Making female writers cry during a notes session was especially hysterical. He actually liked to boast about the time he made one writer cry twice in one meeting.”
During her recent speech, Gellar said that her experiences in Hollywood have been mostly positive besides the one toxic environment.
“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.”