At one point in Joss Whedon’s career, he was well known for his smart story sense, ability to pen clever dialogue, and the fact that he was a self-professed feminist. All of this became proof positive with his hit series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
But all of that turned on a dime when Ray Fisher, the actor who played Cyborg in 2017’s Justice League, decided to spill the beans on what he called Whedon’s “unprofessional” behavior on set.
Since the time Fisher spoke out against Joss Whedon, there have been numerous other similar accusations concerning his behavior and unprofessional relationships with certain female acquaintances on his TV and movie sets. Let’s take a look at those who have accused Joss Whedon of being a creep.
The Joss Whedon Accusers
Kai Cole is Joss Whedon’s ex-wife, and we start here because it was her 2017 essay in The Wrap that first brought attention to Joss Whedon and his infidelity. One of her main points to start with was Cole claiming Whedon to be a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals.”
Whedon built his career on calling himself a feminist, always using his platform as a writer and director to showcase the strength of women.
Cole said Joss Whedon hid multiple affairs
But in her essay, Cole was not shy about describing the fact that Whedon finally admitted to her of his past dalliances, saying “he hid multiple affairs and a number of inappropriate emotional ones that he had with his actresses, co-workers, fans, and friends,” while they were married.
She then accused Whedon of using their marriage as protection “so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist.”
Cole’s accusations and essay appeared a short two months before the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal rocked Hollywood and helped usher in the #MeToo movement. The focus began to shed light on how these men in power were using said power and influence to get what they wanted from women.
Whedon eventually did admit that he “did the bad things” his ex accused him of but also claimed that much of it was mischaracterized and it was being used by those who wished to defame him. Uh-huh, if you say so.
Ray Fisher took what Kai Cole said to heart and became the first actor to shed light on Joss Whedon; how poorly he treated certain actors and behind-the-scenes workers. Fisher’s beef began when Joss Whedon took over for Zack Snyder on the DC film Justice League. Snyder had to step away from the film to tend to personal matters.
Whedon immediately shitcanned a lot of Snyder’s completed work, rewriting much of the script, and performing reshoots to make it more of his film rather than completing Snyder’s vision.
When Whedon took over, Fisher’s role was cut drastically, going from what Snyder intended as Fisher’s Cyborg being the heart of the film and relegating him to a more minor character.
But Fisher wanted people to know just how bad Whedon’s behavior was on the set of Justice League, so he decided to Tweet it out. During one of Fisher’s tweets, he claimed that Whedon engaged in “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” behavior.
When Fisher went to Whedon to express his concerns over having Most of Cyborg’s backstory removed, he claims Whedon responded by telling him, “It feels like I’m taking notes right now, and I don’t like taking notes from anybody — not even Robert Downey Jr.”
Speaking of Joss Whedon and the set of Justice League, apparently Ray Fisher was not the only one to incur the wrath of Whedon. You can also count Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot as another who was on the receiving end.
Gadot claims she was being pushed to record lines she didn’t like and Whedon’s response to this was he told her he “would make my career miserable” if she did not perform the lines as written.
Whedon’s response to her claim was, “I don’t threaten people,” Whedon said. “Who does that?” He then added, “English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech.”
Charisma Carpenter began her Buffy career as a recurring character and part of the Scooby Gang. She would eventually crossover to Buffy’s spin-off series, Angel, where she was a main character for the series’ first 3 seasons.
As season 4 began, Carpenter’s character, Cordelia Chase, was put into a coma, ultimately being killed off in season 5. In real life, Carpenter became pregnant and certain story aspects were written in to deal with her pregnancy.
At first, Carpenter took being removed from the series in stride, but not long after Fisher’s revelations, she decided it was time for some of her own. She claims that when she told Whedon she was pregnant, he asked her if she was “going to keep it.”
She said his response hit her hard and it was something she wished she had spoken up about, but never knew how.
After Charisma Carpenter spoke out, Buffy star Michelle Trachtenberg came out with accusations of her own. Apparently, Whedon was so bad on set and behind the scenes in his approach to the women in the cast or the workers around them that they had a rule on set that barred Whedon from being alone in a room with her. Trachtenberg never went into any detail as to what led to the making of the rule.
James Marsters’ character of Spike was introduced during season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and became one of the more popular characters in the series as well as the crossover, Angel.
The idea to have Spike become a main cog in the Buffy wheel was not the original intention of Joss Whedon and at one point, he physically made this point well known to Marsters.
Marsters once spoke on the podcast, Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, detailing the interaction he had with Whedon as Spike’s popularity was hitting its zenith. “I remember he backed me up against a wall one day and he was just like, ‘I don’t care how popular you are, kid, you’re dead. You hear me? Dead. Dead!'”
Marsters went on to assure Rosenbaum that Whedon was not joking around in his delivery.
There have been plenty of others who have voiced their complaints about Joss Whedon and his on-set activities. Sophia Crawford and Jeff Pruitt were two stunt workers during the early seasons of Buffy. Both claimed that the early relationship between Whedon and the now-married couple was fine.
But as the seasons progressed and the show became more popular, Whedon began to exert more control over what Crawford and Pruitt were hired for. It got to the point where Pruitt couldn’t handle Whedon anymore and decided to move on. The head-butting continued, finally forcing both Pruitt and Crawford to find other jobs.
Not only is Joss Whedon known for his verbal clashes, but he is also known for getting physical with a few of his set workers. Case in point, costume designer Cynthia Bergstrom. She and Whedon were in disagreement over Gellar’s costume in one of the Buffy episodes. The disagreement apparently got so heated that Whedon approached Bergstrom and, according to her, “grabbed my arm and dug in his fingers until his fingernails imprinted the skin.”
There was another incident where a staff writer on the Joss Whedon series, Firefly, says Whedon mocked her for a good 90 minutes over a script he did not care for, all in front of the entire staff.
Needless to say, where there is smoke, there is fire. Joss Whedon has copped to some of his past digressions but never has truly appeared sorry for any of it. Professionally, things have slowed down tremendously for Whedon, and rightfully so given all the horrible things he has done in his past. Maybe time will heal these wounds, maybe not.