Eliza Dushku is telling her side of the story after news broke earlier this month that CBS paid her a secret $9.5 million settlement after she accused her former Bull co-star, Michael Weatherly, of harassment.
Dushku was written off CBS’ Bull after she confronted Weatherly about his behavior, according to a report in The New York Times. According to the outlet, when the 37-year-old actress appeared on Bull last year for three episodes, there were “well-developed plans” to make her a full-time cast member, but those plans allegedly ended after she came forward with allegations against Weatherly. After Dushku entered mediation with CBS, the network agreed this year to pay Dushku a confidential settlement of $9.5 million, roughly the amount she would have earned as a series regular.
Weatherly told the Times he immediately apologized to Dushku when she confronted him and that he realizes some of his language and attempts at humor were not appropriate. He denied asking for her removal from the show.
In her essay for The Boston Globe, Dushku called 50-year-old Weatherly’s comments more “deflection, denial, and spin.” She also denied that she overreacted to his attempts at humor.
“I do not want to hear that I have a ‘humor deficit’ or can’t take a joke,” she writes. “I did not over-react. I took a job and, because I did not want to be harassed, I was fired.”
Dushku details her sexual harassment allegations against Weatherly, claiming that tapes show him offering to take her to his “rape van, filled with all sorts of lubricants and long phallic things.” She says he also constantly called her names, played provocative songs when she was working and proposed a threesome.
“He regularly commented on my ‘ravishing’ beauty, following up with audible groans, oohing and aahing,” she claims. “As the tapes show, he liked to boast about his sperm and vasectomy reversals … Weatherly had a habit of exaggerated eye-balling and leering at me; once, he leaned into my body and inhaled, smelling me in a dramatic swoon. As was caught on tape, after I flubbed a line, he shouted in my face, ‘I will take you over my knee and spank you like a little girl.'”
“His conduct was unwelcome and directed at me,” she continues. “Watching the recordings in the settlement process, it is easy to see how uncomfortable, speechless, and frozen he made me feel. For Weatherly’s part, it looks like a deeply insecure power play, about a need to dominate and demean. In no way was it playful, nor was it joking with two willing participants. …. What is hardest to share is the way he made me feel for 10 to 12 hours per day for weeks. This was classic workplace harassment that became workplace bullying. I was made to feel dread nearly all the time I was in his presence. And this dread continues to come up whenever I think of him and that experience.”
Dushku claims that after she pleaded with Weatherly to stop the sexualized set comments, he texted CBS Television President David Stapf and asked her to be written off the show. She claims he then barely spoke to her and made it clear he was icing her out. The actress says her final humiliation came when he circulated a memo to the crew instructing them to not comment on her appearance or beauty, and on the final day of shooting, proceeded to demean her at the wrap party he personally invited her to.
“He called me up in front of the entire cast and crew to pick the winning party raffle tickets, Weatherly was actually going out of his way to humiliate me and said something along the lines of: ‘I need a beautiful woman to come pull this ticket,'” she alleges. “He laid it on thick. ‘A truly beautiful woman . . . hmmm, who could that be?’ He was performing, pretending to search the room. I immediately clocked what was happening, my breath tightened. ‘Eliza! Yes, the mostbeautiful woman of all. Yes, Eliza, you have to come pull the raffle ticket!’ he instructed, dripping with sarcasm and in direct violation of his own edict not to comment on my physical appearance.”
“No matter that I’ve acted in more than 30 films and starred in two network series, Weatherly had to let everyone know he was the boss, that he had won and no one would come on that set and reject what he thought should be his unfettered right to do and say whatever he wants,” she continues.
According to the Times report, a lawyer for CBS handed over outtakes from Bull in the belief it would help their case, but it allegedly backfired. The Times reports “the outtakes were a goldmine” that actually captured some of the harassment.
“Weatherly sexually harassed and bullied me day-in and day-out and would have gotten away with it had he not been caught on tape, and had the CBS lawyers not inadvertently shared the tapes with my counsel, Barbara Robb,” Dushku comments. “Reflecting on the whole ordeal, it often makes me think with sadness of the majority of victims who do not have the benefit of the fortunate evidence — the tapes that I had.”
ET has reached out to reps for both Weatherly and CBS. Meanwhile, two of Weatherly’s NCIS co-stars have shown their support for him following Dushku’s allegations.
“This man… I love, respect, trust and I KNOW. TWO decades of friendship and respect,” Pauley Perrette tweeted alongside a pic of the two together after the news broke.
Actress Sasha Alexander, who has appeared on NCIS, also wrote, “I have been in trenches w/ my friend @M_Weatherly. Always laughs, true friend & ❤️ as big as they come.
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