“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar only recently realized that not all sets have to be ruled by toxic masculinity.
“For so long, I was on a set that I think was known for being an extremely toxic male set,” the actress said during the “Power of Storytelling: Producers Roundtable” at The Wrap’s Power of Women Summit on Wednesday.
This experience led her to believe that “all sets were” toxic where “women were pitted against each other” because “if women became friends, then we became too powerful, so [they] had to keep that down.”
But after working with more women in the industry, along with men who want to see women succeed, she’s changed her tune.
“I realized how easy an experience it can be,” she noted. “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.”
Although Gellar didn’t explicitly reveal on what set she had experienced male toxicity, she starred in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” between 1997 and 2003.
The TV drama made headlines for its apparent toxic work environment in 2021 when Gellar’s co-star Charisa Carpenter spoke out against the show’s creator, Joss Whedon.
Carpenter claimed that Whedon “abused his power” on the set of the show as well as the series spin-off, “Angel.”
“While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers,” Carpenter tweeted of Whedon at the time.
“The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer. It is with a beating, heavy heart that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively.”
Carpenter claimed that Whedon called her “fat” while she was pregnant, that he “manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me” and accused her of “sabotaging the show,” among other accusations.
At the time, Gellar applauded her co-star for speaking out against the alleged abuses.
“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,” Gellar wrote on Instagram that February.
“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.”