Source: Getty Images

Let's Not Forget About That Time Joss Whedon Fired Charisma Carpenter for Getting Pregnant



Accusations of director Joss Whedon’s abusive behavior surfaced today. Actor Ray Fisher (who played Cyborg in Justice League and Batman vs. Superman) took to Twitter several hours ago and shared what it was really like working with Joss on set. “Joss [Whedon’s] on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable. He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Accountability>Entertainment,” Ray wrote.

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It looks like Ray isn’t the only one who’s had to deal with Joss’s inexcusable behavior, though. Back in 2003, Joss seemingly wrote off Charisma Carpenter’s character (Cordelia Chase) from Angel because he was upset that she was pregnant. 

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What happened between Joss Whedon and Charisma Carpenter?

During Season 4, Joss had Cordelia turn “evil.” She eventually ended up in a coma and never came back. Fans had no idea whether or not Cordelia was coming back — and this included Charisma herself. 

“I actually got a phone call from somebody in the press, which really sucked,” Charisma explained.

She also stated, “I think Joss was, honestly, mad. I think he was mad at me and I say that in a loving way, which is — it’s a very complicated dynamic working for somebody so many years, and expectations, and also being on a show for eight years, you gotta live your life. And sometimes living your life gets in the way of maybe the creator’s vision for the future. And that becomes a conflict, and that was my experience.” 

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Source: The WB

Joss’s explanation? He claimed it was time for that character’s story to end. “We felt like we had taken that story...about as far as it could go. It just seemed like it was time because we were revamping the show, and then pairing it just seemed like a good time for certain people move on,” he told TV Guide. By “certain people” he apparently meant “pregnant people.”

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Although Charisma has publicly stated she’d work with Joss again, a tweet from 2019 doesn’t exactly mirror that statement. In response to an article claiming Charisma “hid” her pregnancy, Charisma fired back saying she was always transparent about her pregnancy with the Angel crew.

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A fan replied, tweeting, “This is so gross. I always *hated* the way that you were written out and seeing my favorite character get such a bullshit send off sucked. It felt like the show was punishing you for being pregnant and all this article does is perpetuate the idea that you deserved it.” 

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To that, Charisma wrote back, “There’s so much 2 this tweet. Man! Finding out I was not invited back for S5 will always be a deep wound. It would have been a g8 honor/joy 2see Cordy thru to the very end. She should have been there 2 fight along side the only family she had. Even if she was only there in spirit”

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She added, “It was hard. One of the hardest realities in my career to face. So scary too -post baby. A terrible time to be out of work. Which I think is not unique to me. Many of us have found ourselves out of work when we are most vulnerable. But this cut. Deep.”

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When asked about whether he and Charisma were on good terms, Joss stated, “Yeah, but that’s also stuff between us and not stuff that I would talk about in an interview,” according to Telegraph. The director has never publicly acknowledged the accusation that he may have punitively written off an actress because she wanted to become a mother. 

Source: Instagram
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Aside from Ray and Charisma’s accounts, many fans have feel that Joss has done a poor job representing women in his shows and movies. From having Black Widow think of herself as a “monster” because she was forced to be sterilized during her training, to using rape as a plot device to encourage his male characters to “progress,” Joss has been majorly problematic for awhile now.

If anything, hopefully Joss takes this time to reflect on his actions and learn from them. And let this be a lesson for studios to hire more women as directors and showrunners so we avoid these unacceptable types of situations from ever happening in the first place.

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