CBS Paid 'Bull' Star Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million to Settle Harassment Claim Against Michael Weatherly
On Thursday, the New York Times released a bombshell new report revealing that during Season 1 of Bull, CBS paid former cast member Eliza Dushku $9.5 million dollars to resolve claims that she was written off the legal drama for confronting star Michael Weatherly for his alleged inappropriate behavior on set.
The actress, who joined the series late in the first season as defense attorney J.P. Nunnelly, claims the NCIS alum made uncomfortable and demeaning comments about her appearance. The report details that he joked about having a threesome with her and a male crew member, said "here comes legs" when she walked on set, and made a reference to bending her over his knee to spank her in front of the cast and crew. The notes from the internal CBS investigation said that Dushku felt "disgusted and violated."
Initially, Dushku confronted Weatherly about the behavior, and soon after, she was written off of the show. She had already filmed three episodes on the series and was intended to have a series regular role in the second season.
After that, she entered mediation with the network as she believed she was a victim of retaliation for speaking up against the lead of the series. Ultimately, CBS agreed to a confidential settlement of $9.5 million, or the equivalent of what Dushku would’ve earned as a full-time cast member for four more 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. 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."
Weatherly also responded via an emailed statement to The Times, apologizing for his behavior toward his former cast mate. “During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script," he writes. "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."
The actor did, however, deny having any part in having Dushku written off of the show. "It’s my recollection that I didn’t tell anyone how they should do their job regarding the hiring or firing of anybody," he adds.