Sarah Michelle Gellar Says Buffy The Vampire Slayer Was Extremely Toxic

Sarah Michelle Gellar revealed that women could not be friends on the toxic set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

sarah michelle gellar

While Buffy the Vampire Slayer was an empowering series that served as a way for many young women to see themselves through the lens of the main characters, the idea that the show’s set was a perfect utopia came crashing down after its creator Joss Whedon was put under fire for fueling hostile work environments. Although she has never been one to throw in her two cents, Sarah Michelle Gellar, who starred as Buffy, has finally spoken out about the “extremely toxic male set” that she and her co-stars worked on during the show’s seven-season run. According to Gellar, “If women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that down.”

The Cruel Intentions actress’ comments came during the Power of Storytelling: Producers Roundtable event at TheWrap’s Power of Women Summit in Los Angeles, with Gellar holding nothing back. Opening up about her experiences, Sarah Michelle Gellar reveals that during her time playing teen heroine Buffy Summers, she wasn’t encouraged to forge deep relationships with other women in the cast and crew. She added that to ensure no strong bonds were formed, production would face women off against one another — always keeping them in competition.

sarah michelle gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar says that while her time on Buffy was less than desirable, she’s since “had this opportunity to work with so many more women and men that support women as well,” adding that these experiences have been eye-opening and moments of major career growth. Through these involvements, she says that she’s come to find “how easy” it can be when everyone is on the same team. 

But, just because times have been better for Sarah Michelle Gellar since leaving the set of Buffy, she still recognizes that there are many more miles to go. The actress, who will soon appear in Paramount+’s Wolf Pack, says that it’s a sad reality that for the time being the only way to ensure that women are being heard through stories and on sets is to make sure women are at the head of “those departments.” Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Do Revenge star has stepped into more producing roles through her new projects, including donning an executive producer hat on Wolf Pack.

Since reigning as the queen supreme in a slew of ‘90s classics like I Know What You Did Last Summer, and into the early years of the new decade with The Grudge, Sarah Michelle Gellar took a huge step back from Hollywood following the wrap of Buffy in 2003. A major part of this decision was to give her children a fuller childhood, with her husband and fellow ‘90s legend, Freddie Prinze Jr. also putting his career on the back burner for the last two decades. Now, both performers are back in action, taking on big and small-screen roles and delighting their fan bases with the news. 

It’s beyond crushing to know that Sarah Michelle Gellar and the other women of Buffy the Vampire Slayer experienced such psychologically devastating times filming what would come to be one of the most celebrated shows of our time. While her on-screen sister Michelle Trachtenberg has previously come out with her own allegations, along with Buffy-turned-Angel star Charisma Carpenter, Gellar’s comments send a larger message to those at the top. With hope in her words, Gellar sounds to be leading the charge on making Hollywood a more inclusive and safe place for everyone.