Sexual harassment, hostile work environments, and sexual assault are just some of the words that we hear in regards to women’s issues. We hear the words more and more now but not because the issues are new but because they are being acknowledged more and more. You only have to search #metoo to see many, many stories. It’s heartbreaking. In the last couple of years, we have learned terrible things about people we admired and respected. I’m still kind of reeling from the Kevin Spacey down-fall. And as more women (and some men) speak out, we learn more.
They say, don’t ever meet your heroes. But, as a person who has met many of my favorite celebs at conventions, I don’t necessarily agree with that. Because I have had so many amazing encounters, only a couple mediocre ones; and not one bad encounter.
However, there is one man who I have never had the opportunity to meet, who has always been a hero to me, at least, in the entertainment world. Joss Whedon. I have always regarded Joss Whedon who is responsible for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, the first two Avengers film and many other things; as a genius. A god among men, if you will. And a champion of female empowerment. I mean, Buffy was his break-out hit and it is all about strong females. And it is my all-time favorite show.
poiuBut, last week, a dark cloud came over my Sunnydale love. (Buffy lives in Sunnydale, fyi). Because last week, Charisma Carpenter spoke out about what working with Joss Whedon was really like. Apparently, female empowerment was reserved for the cameras. As I read her story about how Joss “abused his power on numerous occasions” and “created a hostile and toxic work environment,” I didn’t want to believe it. But, don’t get me wrong, I did. I just didn’t want to. And, even if I figured out a way to fool myself, the responses from her female co-stars would have made that impossible. I’m good at rationalizing but not that good.
We really have come a long way. From what I have seen, Charisma (who once oohed and ahhed over my baby daughter) has received positive and supportive responses from the general population and definitely from her former co-workers, like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Amber Benson. I’m sure there were some trolls but that is impossible to avoid. Anyway, I can’t imagine what the reaction would have been just 10 years ago. Nevermind 20+ years ago, when she was silently dealing with Joss’ “casually cruel” nature. I can’t imagine what that was like but I can imagine similar scenarios, I think all women can. And some men, too, for that matter.
To say my heart broke when this all came out, would be downplaying my feelings on it. I didn’t want to know. I know I’m not alone in that. I didn’t want to take Joss off of the pedestal that I had him on. But, sometimes there’s no explaining it away and sometimes, you have to stand with the good guys. Even when the bad guys make kick-ass tv shows. Wrong is wrong. Thousands of Whedonverse fans lost a hero, last week. But, we also gained a reminder that these are all real people with real emotions. I don’t think we fans really forgot that but it’s a reminder, never the less.
When this all came out, my husband asked me if we have to boycott Buffy. I immediately said no. I mean, I couldn’t if I tried. But, instead, I will watch it more (if that’s possible). Now I will watch it out of loyalty to the women on the show. I won’t abandon the art they made and I will continue to sing their praises because they are brave, they are strong, they are women and they are my heroes now. #istandwithcharismacarpenter