Note: This article contains sexual language that some readers may find offensive. Please read at your own discretion.
Actor Eliza Dushku, known for her roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and cheerleading movie Bring It On, was paid a secret settlement of US$9.5 million by CBS after she made accusations of sexual harassment against Bull series star Michael Weatherly.
The bombshell New York Times report, published Thursday, outlined the alleged interactions between Weatherly and Dushku, who was initially hired in 2017 to play Weatherly’s love interest on the CBS show.
Shortly after she reported the alleged comments by Weatherly to the higher-ups, however, Dushku’s character was written off the show.
The clandestine payment was uncovered during an investigation by law firms Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton as they looked into sexual misconduct allegations against former CBS president Les Moonves. Moonves resigned from CBS in September.
“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,” read a statement from CBS. “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.”
WARNING: This video may contain disturbing language not suitable for all viewers. Discretion advised. Eliza Dushku has been paid by US$9.5M by CBS in response to a sexual harassment claim against Michael Weatherly
Apparently Dushku mulled litigation, but in the end opted for mediation. She made no comment to the Times, and it’s assumed that she’s under a confidentiality agreement.
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Dushku made multiple accusations against Weatherly, who allegedly used sexual language with her and made inappropriate jokes on-set in front of costars and crew, adding to her humiliation. She claimed Weatherly called her “Legs,” made a joke about bending her over his knee and “spanking” her, invited her into his windowless “r van” (“rape van”) and at one point suggested that she have a threesome with him and another male cast member.
Weatherly claimed that several of his remarks were based on lines in the Bull script, and he was just making off-the-cuff “jokes.”
He also issued an apology to the Times: “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 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 and I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza.”
He denied ever requesting or ordering Dushku’s departure from the show, even though Dushku voiced concerns to her representatives about potential reciprocation for her reporting of the alleged harassment.
In January, Dushku accused a stunt coordinator on the set of 1994 movie True Lies of sexually abusing her, when she was only 12 years old.
Joel Kramer, the accused, was 36 at the time and has denied the allegations.
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None of these sexual assault accusations against Kramer or Weatherly have been proven in court, and neither man has been charged with any crime.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.