Eliza Dushku breaks silence on alleged harassment on set of ‘Bull’
Eliza Dushku is ready to tell her side of the story, less than one week after it was revealed that the actress received a settlement from CBS after allegedly experiencing harassment on the set of “Bull.”
Last week, the New York Times reported Dushku was the recipient of a $9.5 million settlement after she accused “Bull” star Michael Weatherly of making repeated remarks about her appearance, a comment about a threesome and a rape joke, among other things. Details of the confidential settlement were included in a draft of a report, obtained by the Times, about CBS workplace culture that was being conducted by outside counsel contracted by the network.
As part of her agreement with CBS, Dushku agreed to confidentiality, but said in a new Boston Globe op-ed that she changed her mind in light of the statements made to the Times by Weatherly and writer-producer Glenn Gordon Caron.
In her first-person account, Dushku detailed Weatherly’s alleged “constant name-calling,” “distasteful remarks,” and an act of retaliation that led to her eventual firing from the show, shortly after she confronted Weatherly about his behavior.
When she joined the show, Dushku had been contracted for three episodes with the possibility of becoming a full-time cast member.
“In explaining his bad behavior, Weatherly, who plays Dr. Bull, claimed I didn’t get his attempt at humor. … I did not over-react,” Dushku wrote. “I took a job and, because I did not want to be harassed, I was fired.”
CNN has reached out to CBS and Weatherly’s representatives for comment.
When contacted by the Times last week, Weatherly said, in part, that he was “mortified” to have offended Dushku and claims he “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,” he said in the statement.
In a statement to CNN, first released to The Times, CBS confirmed the settlement and pledged to improve working conditions.
“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, in part.
In her piece, Dushku said, “the boys’ club remains in full force at CBS,” and claimed that Weatherly “bragged about his friendship with CBS chief executive Les Moonves.”
“He regaled me with stories about using Moonves’ plane, how they vacationed together, and what great friends they were,” she wrote. “Weatherly wielded this special friendship as an amulet and, as I can see now, as a threat.”
In September, Moonves was pushed out after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and retaliation.
Two months later, The Times reported that Moonves also worked to bury allegations of a forced sexual encounter from one accuser.
Moonves has denied allegations of retaliation and maintains any sexual interactions were consensual.
On Monday, CBS’s board of directors announced they were denying Moonves severance payment after concluding they had cause to fire him.
Under the terms of his employment contract, Moonves was eligible to receive roughly $140 million upon his exit. When he was forced out, $20 million was set aside for grants that ended up going to 18 different women’s charities.
CBS’s company-wide workplace culture has been under scrutiny in recent months, particularly since the allegations against Moonves came to light.
Dushku said as part of her settlement, she asked that CBS “designate an individual trained in sexual harassment compliance to monitor Weatherly and the show in general.” She also asked to meet with Steven Spielberg, whose company, Amblin Television, co-produced “Bull,” to talk about her experience, assuming “that if anyone could make changes, it would be Spielberg.”
The meeting has yet to take place, Dushku said.
“I am still trying to make sense of how this could happen, especially in these times,” Dushku added.