It has recently been brought to light that CBS secretly paid Actress Eliza Dushku over comments made by Michael Weatherly while on the set of Bull. Originally Dushku signed on for three episodes of the show but was told she would also become a permanent character on the show. It wasn’t long after she started working on the series that the alleged incidents happened, and the 37-year-old actress was written off the series soon after.
CBS confirms they paid Eliza Dushku settlement over sexual comments made by Michael Weatherly
Eliza Dushku was only working on Bull for a short amount of time before the show’s star Michael Weatherly reportedly made sexual comments about her appearance and even a rape and threesome joke about her in front of other people. “Here comes legs,” he said to Dushku when she walked in wearing a skirt. On another occasion, Weatherly said in front of the cast and crew that he would bend her over his leg and spank her.
“I ad-libbed a joke, a classic Cary Grant line from ‘Charade’ or ‘Philadelphia Story,’ and that meant not at all that that was an action I wanted to take,” Weatherly said in an interview. Eliza Dushku confronted Weatherly about these inappropriate comments and then subsequently got written off the show where she was promised a permanent role.
CBS then paid Dushku a $9.5-million settlement (the same amount she would have made if she had worked on the show for four seasons.) The Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress also signed a confidentiality agreement after the events. Not long after, The New York Times obtained a draft of the investigation report that said Dushku’s complaints signified much larger issues at CBS that were yet to be resolved.
“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,” a spokesperson for CBS said. “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, and was determined in a mutually agreed upon mediation process at the time.”
These claims came not long after CBS Corporation board hired the law firms Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton to examine accusations of sexual misconduct made by multiple women against Leslie Moonves, the company’s former chief executive. The board also instructed the outside lawyers to investigate “cultural issues at all levels of CBS” according to Times.
Once news broke Weatherly issued an emailed statement, “During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script. When Eliza told me that she wasn’t comfortable with my language and attempt at humor, 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 and I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza.”
Speaking to investigators about her experience, Dushku said, “You’re all I have at this point. My story is true and it’s really affected me, and I can’t talk about it.”