Claiming that there’s been nothing but “deflection, denial, and spin” from CBS, Bull’s Michael Weatherly and an EP on the drama over revelations of harassment and the $9.5 million settlement she received, Eliza Dushku today decided to tell her own side of the story – and it doesn’t read well for the already scandalized network and its long-time star.
“The narrative propagated by CBS, actor Michael Weatherly, and writer-producer Glenn Gordon Caron is deceptive and in no way fits with how they treated me on the set of the television show Bull and retaliated against me for simply asking to do my job without relentless sexual harassment,” Dushku states in an extensive piece she penned for the Boston Globe.
This follows the expose last week by the New York Times of the multi-million-dollar payout that the Buffy alum got after complaining about rape jokes, offers of threesomes, leering, and more from former NCIS regular Weatherly. Once seen as a sure thing regular for Bull, Dushku was written out of the series after just a few episodes in the first season after taking her concerns to the network. As the report into wide ranging matters at CBS that the NYT got their hands on makes clear, the result was the eventual confidential settlement, that Deadline revealed on December 14 was overseen directly by now canned and much accused ex-CEO Moonves himself.
“Weatherly also bragged about his friendship with CBS chief executive Les Moonves,” small screen vet Dushku reveals in her hometown paper, adding another aspect to the matter. “He regaled me with stories about using Moonves’s plane, how they vacationed together, and what great friends they were. Weatherly wielded this special friendship as an amulet and, as I can see now, as a threat.”
Already under investigation by outside law firms and having played the losing hand in a corporate battle for control with dominate shareholder Shari Redstone, Moonves resigned from his powerful Black Rock perch in September as more and more stories of misconduct on his part over the decades became public.
Having been briefed last week on the investigation, which was leaked to the NYT, the now Redstone controlled board decided on December 17 to terminate Moonves for cause and not pay out a penny of his $120 million severance. Being paid by the very company he is set to go to war with, the ex-exec’s lawyer Andrew Levander declared that same day that “the conclusions of the CBS board were foreordained and are without merit.” The matter looks headed for arbitration and perhaps the courts too.
CBS did not return request for comment on Dushku’s op-ed not did reps for Weatherly.
“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 adds of the tapes that CBS thought would catch her out swearing on set and instead spotlighted Weatherly’s actions. “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.”
“CBS ultimately paid me $9.5 million earlier this year to settle the allegations — an amount that represented a portion of what I would have earned had I finished my potential six-year contract,” Mapplethorpe producer Dushku explains further in the Globe piece.
“But this wasn’t just about money; I wanted a culture change,” she notes, before unveiling something seemingly overlooked in the report of the CBS investigation by the outside lawyers. “A significant settlement condition was my requirement that CBS designate an individual trained in sexual harassment compliance to monitor Weatherly and the show in general. CBS did not want to do this, but I wouldn’t settle without this condition,” she concludes also adding she requested to speak with Steven Spielberg, who’s Amblin TV co-produces Bull.
Not sure if the sexual harassment compliance monitor was ever put on the Bull set but Dushku admits that she hasn’t had that sitdown with Spielberg yet.