CBS has reportedly paid actress Eliza Dushku a multimillion-dollar settlement after she came forward with claims that her former “Bull” co-star Michael Weatherly sexually harassed her while filming the series.
Weatherly is accused of engaging in inappropriate conduct shortly after Dushku joined the cast last March, according to a recent report from the New York Times. The 50-year-old actor allegedly made a rape joke and talked about having a threesome, in addition to commenting on the 37-year-old Dushku’s appearance, all while other cast members and crew were present.
“Here comes legs,” Weatherly is alleged to have said to her at one point. He suggested bending her over and spanking her on another occasion, Dushku told investigators at CBS, according to The Times.
Dushku, whose character was billed as a love interest that would become a regular cast member, was abruptly written off the show in what she viewed as a retaliatory termination after confronting Weatherly about his behavior, the Times reports.
After undergoing mediation with the network, Dushku was paid a $9.5 million settlement, an amount roughly equal to what she would have been paid if she’d continued as a cast member for four seasons, according to the paper.
Information regarding Dushku’s previously undisclosed settlement was uncovered amid the ongoing investigation into the culture at CBS, an investigation sparked by allegations that former CEO Les Moonves, who stepped down in September, had routinely engaged in sexual misconduct.
Dushku declined to comment, but CBS and Weatherly have addressed the situation in separate statements to the Times.
“During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” Weatherly said. “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.”
Weatherly called his spanking comment an “ad-libbed joke” that was not indicative of “an action I wanted to take,” he told The Times. His threesome joke, he said, was also an off-the-cuff comment, while his remarks regarding a “rape van” were intended to poke fun at a scripted mention of a “windowless van.”
Though Dushku was reportedly written off the show days after she confronted Weatherly about his comments, the actor denied having anything to do with Dushku’s departure, telling the Times, “It’s my recollection that I didn’t tell anyone how they should do their job regarding the hiring or firing of anybody.”
CBS acknowledged the necessity of change in their workplace culture.
“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,” their statement read. “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.”
CBS has been embroiled in controversy since the Moonves accusations came to light. Moonves has continuously denied the claims against him, calling the allegations “appalling” and “untrue” in a statement to the New Yorker.
He admitted to having relations with three of his accusers, but described those encounters as consensual.
Most recently, actress Cybill Shepherd came forward to say that she believes her show, “Cybill,” a sitcom that ran for three years in the 90s, was cancelled after she rebuffed Moonves’ sexual advances. She made those remarks during an interview with SiriusXM’s “The Michelle Collins Show” on Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
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