Eliza Dushku is hitting back at ‘Bull’ co-star Michael Weatherly and show producers. She telling her side of went down on set that led to CBS giving her a $9.5 million payout over sexual harassment allegations.
CBS paid actress Eliza Dushku a $9.5 million secret settlement after she claimed she was let go from the network’s legal hit Bull after complaining about being sexually harassed on set by the show’s star Michael Weatherly. Now the former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star is opening up about what she experienced. The New York Times broke the initial story about the secret payout on Dec. 13, and Weatherly and producer-writer Glenn Gordon Caron both commented for the piece, but Dushku did not. She now says in an op-ed for the Boston Globe that she was under the impression she could not discuss it due to the confidentiality agreement all parties agreed to, while the men gave comments to the Times.
“The narrative propagated by CBS, actor Michael Weatherly, and writer-producer Glenn Gordon Caron is deceptive and in no way fits with how they treated me on the set of the television show Bull and retaliated against me for simply asking to do my job without relentless sexual harassment,” Dushu wrote in a Dec. 19 piece for the Globe. Weatherly had told the Times that what Dushku believed was sexual harassment was simply jokes gone awry, which the Bring It On actress has issues with. “I do not want to hear that I have a ‘humor deficit’ or can’t take a joke. I did not over-react. I took a job and, because I did not want to be harassed, I was fired,” she writes.
Dushku was brought on for a three episode arc in 2017 with the promise of becoming a series regular and in investigators documents, said that she was let go after complaining to Caron and then directly to Weatherly about how uncomfortable his comments made her. The 37-year-old writes that the former NCIS regular would boast about how close he was with then CBS CEO Les Moonves, who since then stepped down and has now been fired with cause over lying about inappropriate sexual behavior with female employees.
“Weatherly also bragged about his friendship with CBS chief executive Les Moonves. He regaled me with stories about using Moonves’s plane, how they vacationed together, and what great friends they were. Weatherly wielded this special friendship as an amulet and, as I can see now, as a threat,” she continues.
“What is hardest to share is the way he made me feel for 10 to 12 hours per day for weeks. This was classic workplace harassment that became workplace bullying. I was made to feel dread nearly all the time I was in his presence. And this dread continues to come up whenever I think of him and that experience,” Dushku writes.
“Weatherly sexually harassed and bullied me day-in and day-out and would have gotten away with it had he not been caught on tape, and had the CBS lawyers not inadvertently shared the tapes with my counsel, Barbara Robb,” Dushku explains. The Times reported that CBS handed over the tapes of filming thinking that they would incriminate Dushku in some way according to investigator documents. Instead they ended up proving her case that Weatherly made jokes to her about threesomes, a “rape van” and taking Dushku over knee and spanking her when she flubbed a line. “Reflecting on the whole ordeal, it often makes me think with sadness of the majority of victims who do not have the benefit of the fortunate evidence — the tapes that I had.”
“CBS ultimately paid me $9.5 million earlier this year to settle the allegations — an amount that represented a portion of what I would have earned had I finished my potential six-year contract,” Dushku goes on to explain. “But this wasn’t just about money; I wanted a culture change. A significant settlement condition was my requirement that CBS designate an individual trained in sexual harassment compliance to monitor Weatherly and the show in general,” Dushku continues.
“CBS did not want to do this, but I wouldn’t settle without this condition,” she adds before also saying that she requested a meeting with Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin Television coproduces Bull. She did it “So I could talk with him about what occurred on his set. I have not yet had my meeting with Spielberg, but I cannot help but wonder where the legendary Hollywood director was throughout all of this. I have been a lifelong fan and assumed that if anyone could make changes, it would be Spielberg,” she concludes, noting the legendary film maker wore a “Time’s Up” pin to the 2018 Golden Globes.