CBS paid Eliza Dushku $9.5 million to resolve claims that she was retaliated against for complaining about sexual harassment on the set of the prime time drama Bull, according to a report in the New York Times.
Dushku appeared in three episodes of the show and had been assured of a significant recurring role, the NYT reports. That changed when she became the focus of a series of uncomfortable comments made by the show’s star, Michael Weatherly, who remarked about her appearance, made a rape joke and a commented about a threesome, according to the Times account.
After raising complaints, Dushku was written off the show, which the actress believed was in retaliation for speaking out. She entering mediation with the network, and received a confidential settlement that would pay her the equivalent of the salary she would have earned if she remained on the show for four seasons.
CBS confirmed the settlement in a statement.
“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,” CBS said. “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.”
The Times reported that details of the confidential settlement emerged as part of an independent examination of CBS’ culture in the wake of sexual misconduct charges leveled against former CEO Les Moonves. It may well be viewed as a sign of broader problems at the media company.
Dusku’s representative could not immediately be reached for comment, nor could Weatherly’s representative. The actor issued a statement to the Times, expressing remorse for his remarks.
“During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” Weatherly said in the statement. “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.”
Dushku has been a prominent figure in the #MeToo movement. The actress accused famed stunt coordinator Joel Kramer of sexually molesting her when she was 12 years old during filming of True Lies. He called the claims “outlandish.” Two other accusers subsequently came forward.
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