Eliza Dushku broke her silence about a $9.5 million confidential settlement she reached with CBS, saying the network fired her after she confronted co-star Michael Weatherly over his alleged sexual harassment on the set of the show Bull.
In a Boston Globe op-ed published Wednesday, Dushku detailed the harassment from Weatherly, which included comments about his “rape van,” name-calling, comments on her beauty, boasting about his virility, and a remark about having a threesome. She said CBS wrote her off Bull after she addressed Weatherly’s behavior with him directly.
Dushku’s essay comes after the New York Times reported that CBS settled her harassment claims for $9.5 million. While Dushku declined an interview for the Times story in order to honor the terms of her settlement with CBS, she wrote that she chose to speak out this week after seeing that Weatherly and Bull showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron had provided comments “in what amounted to more deflection, denial, and spin,” she wrote.
“The narrative propagated by CBS, actor Michael Weatherly and writer-producer Glenn Gorden 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 wrote. “This is not a ‘he-said/she-said’ case. Weatherly’s behavior was captured on CBS’s own videotape recordings.”
Representatives for Weatherly did not immediately comment on Dushku’s piece. In a statement to the Times, Weatherly said Dushku was uncomfortable with his “attempt at humor.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
Dushku wrote that she dealt with sexual harassment and bullying from Weatherly “day-in and day-out” for 10 to 12 hours each day for weeks until she spoke to him about it. In response to her request that he “help ease the sexualized set comments” Weatherly said: “Eliza, no one respects women more than I do,” according to Dushku’s piece. Following that conversation, Dushku said she was written off the show.
According to Dushku, the bullying continued even through the settlement process.
“The boys’ club remains in full force at CBS,” she wrote. “In the settlement process, CBS used as defense a photo of me in a bathing suit, pulled from my own Instagram, as if this suggested I deserved or was not offended by the sexual harassment I experienced.”
Dushku’s essay comes as CBS faces other sexual harassment scandals. Her settlement deal with the network came to light during an investigation of former CBS CEO Les Moonves over accusations of sexual assault and harassment, including forced oral sex, groping and retaliation. Moonves was terminated for cause and will not receive $120 million in severance, the CBS board announced Monday. Former CBS co-anchor Charlie Rose and former 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager were also fired in recent months over sexual misconduct allegations.
CBS confirmed Dushku’s settlement in a statement. The network said the amount she received reflects what she would have gotten for the balance of her contract as a series regular on Bull.
“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 its statement.