Eliza Dushku breaks silence about CBS, alleged Michael Weatherly sexual harassment
Note: This article contains sexual language that some readers may find offensive. Please read at your own discretion.
The actor, known for her roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and cheerleading movie Bring It On, was paid a settlement of US$9.5 million by Bull network CBS after she made accusations of sexual harassment against series star Michael Weatherly.
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A bombshell New York Times report, published last week, outlined the alleged interactions between Weatherly and Dushku, who was initially hired in 2017 to play Weatherly’s love interest on the show.
At the time, both Weatherly and show producers commented to the Times, but Dushku was silent on the matter because of a non-disclosure agreement. No longer.
“[I didn’t want to interview for the Times article] because I wanted to honor the terms of my settlement with the network,” she wrote. “I was under the impression that Weatherly and [Bull showrunner Glen Gordon] Caron would also not respond per our settlement. Instead, all commented to the Times in what amounted to more deflection, denial, and spin.”
Dushku took the opportunity with the Globe to further tell her side of the story.
WATCH BELOW: Eliza Dushku is telling her side of the story in a Boston Globe op-ed
As written in the Times story last week, Dushku alleges that Weatherly 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.
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She wrote about these accusations further in her Globe op-ed, defining in greater detail. After trying to talk face-to-face with Weatherly about the alleged harassment, Dushku says that he almost immediately tried to get her booted off the show. She claims he texted Caron and asked that her character be written off, saying she had a “humour deficit.”
In the Globe article, she outright denies being devoid of humour, saying she “grew up in Boston with three older brothers.”
“I made a name for myself playing a badass vampire slayer turned tough LA cheerleader; I have worked with numerous leading men, including Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio, even CBS’s own David Boreanaz,” wrote Dushku. “I can handle a locker room. I have been on Howard Stern and was hired by Kevin Smith for a film where I wore a black leather cat suit and played a member of an international diamond-thief-gang-ring. I do not want to hear that I have a ‘humor 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 claims that CBS executives had no idea that she was going to be fired, and it was all orchestrated and agreed upon by Caron and Weatherly.
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 repercussions for her reporting of the alleged harassment.
Dushku insists that the millions of dollars she received was not “hush money,” but instead what she was owed for being jettisoned so easily and for the year of alleged abuse she suffered — not to mention the future income she lost by being removed from the show.
She claims that she sought a “culture change” at CBS, and made sure that a condition of her settlement was that the network assigns someone with expertise in sexual harassment compliance to oversee Weatherly and the climate on the Bull set. She also made it a requirement that she get a sit-down meeting with legendary director Steven Spielberg, who runs Amblin Television, a co-producer of the show.
As of this writing, the meeting has not happened, and Dushku says she hasn’t heard from Spielberg.
In January, Dushku accused a stunt co-ordinator 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.
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