Eliza Dushku is calling out the "abuse epidemic" in Hollywood and standing behind her co-star.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress praised Charisma Carpenter for having the "courage" to speak out against Buffy creator Joss Whedon. On Feb. 10, Carpenter claimed Whedon "abused his power" and body-shamed her while she was pregnant on set.
Dushku thanked Carpenter on Thursday, Feb. 11, for coming forward with a "powerful" message. She posted a statement on Instagram, reading, "my heart aches for you & I'm so sorry you have held this for so long. Your post was powerful, painful, and painted a picture we'll collectively never un-see or un-know. Thank you. I hadn't known it and I won't forget it."
She also wrote, "May you and countless others feel the solidarity and connection you have likely missed for too long. From courage, come change and hope. It starts and will end because of courageous truth-tellers like you. I admire, respect, and love you."
Whedon had no immediate comment on Carpenter's allegations when reached by E! News on Feb. 10.
Dushku, who portrayed Faith from 1998 to 2003, went on to discuss the harm of keeping secrets. She said, "Profound healing can only come from naming and disclosing what actually happened, the necessary first step (once someone's ready) to freeing ourselves from our secrets, untold truths which have kept us isolated, ashamed, and held hostage."
The Bring It On star then spoke of the entertainment industry at large, saying, "Neglecting to 'name' the power/gender/sexual/racial abuse epidemic in the entertainment industry (and for that matter society in general), enables the abusers and only emboldens and ultimately fortifies abusive systems."
Actor Anthony Head also opened up on Feb. 11 to say he is "seriously gutted" over the allegations.
Head, who portrayed Buffy's mentor Rupert Giles on the show from 1997 to 2005, said he wasn't aware of the alleged misconduct on set, but has been reflecting on the on-set dynamic following the recent accusations.
Head spoke to ITV's This Morning on Feb. 11, saying, "I have been up most of the night just running through my memories thinking, 'What did I miss?' Because this is not a man saying, 'I didn't see it so it didn't happen.'" The 66 year old actor said, "It's just, I am gutted. I'm seriously gutted, because one of my memories—my fondest memory—was the fact that it was so empowering. Not just in the words in the script, but the family feel of the show."
He continued, "I am really sad that if people went through these experiences, that I was sort of like a father figure. I would hope that someone would come to me and say, 'I'm struggling. I just had a horrible conversation.'"
The School's Out Forever actor noted that Carpenter's claims were "making me think, 'How on earth did I not know this was going on?'"
She detailed her alleged negative experiences with Whedon on both Buffy and Angel in an Instagram post this week. She wrote, "While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me and alienate me from my peers. 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 the 56-year-old writer made "ongoing, passive-aggressive threats to fire" her. When she told him she was pregnant, he allegedly asked if she was planning to keep the baby. She then said he called her "fat" to colleagues when she was four months pregnant.
Series lead Sarah Michelle Gellar posted a message of support on social media later in the day. "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. "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."
Amber Benson, the actress behind Tara Maclay, said she noticed a "toxic environment" on the set of Buffy as well.