In a scathing first-person account published Wednesday, actress Eliza Dushku slammed CBS and her “Bull” costar Michael Weatherly, alleging that she experienced repeated instances of sexual harassment while working on the TV series and was fired as retaliation for confronting the actor.
Dushku’s account, which appeared in the Boston Globe, represents the latest publicity setback for CBS, which is still reeling from the sexual misconduct scandal surrounding former network boss Leslie Moonves, who was recently fired for cause and won’t receive his $120 million in severance.
Despite the allegations against Moonves, CBS said in a recent statement that an investigation found that harassment and retaliation are not pervasive at the broadcasting company. Dushku’s new account draws that conclusion into question.
“The boys’ club remains in full force at CBS,” the actress wrote.
Dushku’s piece focuses largely on her working relationship with costar Weatherly. The actress alleges he made numerous lewd comments, including an overture for a threesome, an invitation to visit his “rape van” and jokes about the quality of his sperm. She claims that the actor also bragged about his friendship with Moonves.
Earlier this year, Dushku reached a $9.5-million settlement with CBS over her allegations. The actress wrote Wednesday that she has deliberately avoided commenting about her experience on “Bull” due to the confidential nature of the deal. But she said a recent New York Times article about her contained “more deflection, denial, and spin,” compelling her to publish her own account.
In the Boston Globe article, Dushku recalls that she confronted Weatherly about his behavior in his trailer. “I asked him to ‘be my ally’ and to ‘help ease the sexualized set comments,’” she wrote. But, she alleges, Weatherly texted CBS Television Studios President David Stapf about 40 minutes after the conversation requesting that she be effectively written off the show.
“Weatherly never apologized to me,” Dushku wrote.
Her account of the confrontation differs from the one Weatherly told the New York Times last week. “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,” the actor said.
Dushku alleges that “Bull” showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron defended Weatherly, telling the actress’ manager, “If Eliza wants to be out of the business by suing CBS, she can be out of the business.” The actress alleges that Caron wrote her off the show within 48 hours of her complaints about Weatherly.
“The bullying continued,“ the actress wrote. “In the settlement process, CBS used as defense a photo of me in a bathing suit, pulled from my own Instagram, as if this suggested I deserved or was not offended by the sexual harassment I experienced.”
Dushku said she was required to submit to a confidential arbitration process in her dispute over “Bull” due to her contract with CBS.