Sarah Michelle Gellar just opened up about a particular time in her career when she was working on an “extremely toxic male set.”
During TheWraps’ Power of Women Summit, which took place Dec. 7 through 9, Gellar talked about how she, like many other contemporaries, were made to believe that women not getting along on set and competing against one another was a totally normal thing. (It’s not.)
“For so long, I was on a set that I think was known for being an extremely toxic male set, and so that was ingrained in my head that that was what all sets were like, and that women were pitted against each other — that if women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that down,” Gellar said during the Power of Storytelling: Producers Roundtable.
And while Gellar didn’t specify that the toxic workplace she was talking about was the set of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, it’s pretty safe to surmise that she was alluding to the Josh Whedon-helmed TV series. Other actors, including Buffy co-star Charisma Carpenter, have previously talked about how the director made her feel “powerless and alone” and that he had “abused his power on numerous occasions.”
Ultimately, Gellar credited working with others who truly supported women to helping her grow and continue to thrive in the entertainment business.
“And now that I’ve had this opportunity to work with so many more women and men that support women as well, I realized how easy an experience it can be, but … unfortunately we’re still in that place where all of those departments a lot of times need to be women for us to have a voice,” she added.
It seems like Gellar knows it is important to make sure those voices are heard, especially the voices of younger generations who have their own potential toxic environments to work their way through, be it IRL or online.
"I know firsthand how hard it is to be a girl in middle school," she told TODAY on Sept. 16, just as her daughter Charlotte was turning 13. "And I didn't have social media to contend with. I think it's about being a good listener, because no one wants advice from their parents."
Gellar has previously also explained why she doesn’t let Charlotte or her son Rocky, 10, whom she shares with husband Freddie Prinze Jr., use social media, comparing using social media at too young of an age to getting a face tattoo: “Because at that age, there’s nothing better than ‘Paw Patrol.’ And now you're 10 and , and you still have these tattoos on your face and it's not even who you are anymore,” explained Gellar. “That's a very hard concept for young kids to grasp.”