Eliza Dushku received her entire contracted salary in a settled sexual harassment case with CBS.
The New York Times reported over the weekend about a secret settlement deal between Dushku and CBS. Dushku had accused “Bull” co-star Michael Weatherly of sexual harassment during the filming of the show in 2017.
On Wednesday, in an opinion column for The Boston Globe, Dushku wrote about her own experience of the situation.
“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,” she said. “This is not a ‘he-said/she-said’ case. Weatherly’s behaviour was captured on CBS’s own videotape recordings.”
Dushku explained that when CBS pitched the show to her, they said it would “pivot to a classic ‘two-hander’ (two main characters), a la ‘Moonlighting.'”
“In explaining his bad behavior, Weatherly, who plays Dr. Bull, claimed I didn’t get his attempt at humour,” she continued. “That’s how a perpetrator rationalizes when he is caught.”
The actress added, “I do not want to hear that I have a ‘humour 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.”
Dushku went on to describe the harassment she faced, saying that she actually confronted Weatherly and he responded, “Eliza, no one respects women more than I do.”
“Then, as I came to learn months later in the settlement process, Weatherly texted CBS Television President David Stapf about 40 minutes after our conversation and asked for what amounted to my being written off the show,” she said.
According to Dushku, Weatherly then began circulating what was described as a “memo” instructing the cast and crew to refrain from commenting at all on her looks. At the season wrap party, he then made a toast saying “something along the lines of: ‘I need a beautiful woman to come pull this ticket.'”
“He laid it on thick,” Dushku recalled. “’A truly beautiful woman . . . hmmm, who could that be?’ He was performing, pretending to search the room. I immediately clocked what was happening, my breath tightened. ‘Eliza! Yes, the most beautiful woman of all. Yes, Eliza, you have to come pull the raffle ticket!'”
Dushku concluded, “The last thing I want at this point in my life is to be in the news. I am recently married and very happily finishing my college degree at home in Boston. But I do feel it is my duty to respond honestly and thoroughly to CBS, Michael Weatherly, and Glenn Gordon Caron’s latest revisionist accounts.”
Dushku was paid $9.5 million by the network and her character was written off the show. “The settlement of these claims reflects the projected amount that Ms. Dushku would have received for the balance of her contract as a series regular,” CBS said in a statement about the payout.
“The allegations in Ms. Dushku’s claims are an example that, while we remain committed to a culture defined by a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace, our work is far from done,” CBS said.
Weatherly reportedly made lewd remarks towards Dushku that made her feel “disgusted and violated.” The actor would allegedly declare “Here comes legs,” when Dushku arrived on set. He also reportedly threatened to bend her over his knee and spank her, and have a threesome with her and a male crew member.”
“During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” Weatherly told The Times. “When Eliza told me that she wasn’t comfortable with my language and attempt at humour, I was mortified to have offended her and immediately apologized.”
“After reflecting on this further, I better understand that what I said was both not funny and not appropriate,” he continued. “And I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza.”
Weatherly denied having anything to do with Dushku being written off the show: “It’s my recollection that I didn’t tell anyone how they should do their job regarding the hiring or firing of anybody.”
Dushku, 37, will star in and produce “The Black Company” television series based on the dark fantasy books of the same name.
Meanwhile, a couple of Weatherly’s co-stars have taken to Twitter on Saturday to state what their experiences have been like working with him. See below.