An investigation into CBS, prompted by claims of sexualmisconduct against Leslie Moonves, the former CBS chief, has turned up more evidence of mistreatment. This complaint involves Michael Weatherly, the starof “Bull” and former co-star of “NCIS.”
On Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, The New York Times published a story providing the details of a secret settlement between CBS and “Bull” actress Eliza Dushku. According to the story, Dushku complained that she was violated on the set of the show and received a $9.5 million payout. CBS confirmed this to USA Today on Thursday.
Dushku, whose credits include, “Bring It On,” “Dollhouse,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” joined “Bull” for three episodes at the end of the first season in March 2017. She was set to become a regular cast member, however, she confronted Weatherly for remarks made that made her feel uncomfortable. Then, according to Dushku, she was written off the show in retaliation.
According to The New York Times, Dushku complained of Weatherly’s “disgusting” behavior on the set that included him saying he wanted to spank her and have a threesome. Both statements were made in front of the cast and crew of “Bull.” The show is currently in its third season. Additionally, Dushku’s complaint said Weatherly referred to a windowless van as a “rape van.” Weatherly told The New York Times that his comments were meant to be jokes.
Rather than pursue a lawsuit, Dushku entered mediation with CBS. According to the report from The New York Times, a CNS lawyer offered outtakes from her “Bull” episodes in an effort to disprove or downplay her claims, but they supported her claims because they captured some of the harassment on film!
The details of the harassment are contained in a draft report of a CBS Corp.-authorized investigation that was reviewed by The New York Times. The investigation began to examine misconduct allegation against then-CBS chief Moonves, who was publicly accused of sexual misconduct in August and resigned under pressure in September. The investigation also focused on the overall culture of the network.
The report from investigators concluded that the settlement with Dushku was “not only misguided, but emblematic of larger problems at CBS.”
CBS confirmed the existence of the settlement in a statement that was shared with USA Today and said that the $9.5 million reflected what Dushku would have made if she had remained a regular on the show.
“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. The settlement of these claims was determined in a mutually agreed upon mediation process at the time.”
The New York Times reported that Dushku signed a non-disclosure agreement preventing her from publicly discussing the case. However, she saw the Moonves investigation as a chance to speak out. She told investigators, “You’re all I have at this point. My story is true and it’s really affected me and I can’t talk about it.”
Before the details of the “Bull” situation were made public, Weatherly was asked about the circumstances at CBS after the allegations against Moonves led to the departure of the CEO.
“Not to get into and of the ifs, ands or buts about what is right or wrong and where it comes from. Professionally, I owe a great part of my career to the decision-making of the higher-ups at the company. It’s a complicated place to be.”
Both Weatherly and Dushku declined to comment on the situation when approached by The New York Times and USA Today.
By Jeanette Smith
USA TODAY: CBS paid actress Eliza Dushku $9.5M after ‘Bull’star Michael Weatherly’s sexual comments
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