Eliza Dushku Receives $9.5 Million Secret Settlement From CBS Over Michael Weatherly Harassment Claims
According to the New York Times, the 37-year-old actress was paid money after she accused her Bull co-star Weatherly of making remarks about her appearance, including a comment about a threesome and a rape joke.
After confronting Weatherly about his comments and behavior, Dushku, who had been contracted for three episodes of the Bull with the possibility of becoming a full cast member, was written off the show. As a result, in shock over her role being cut, Dushku went into mediation with CBS and signed a confidential settlement granting her $9.5 million, which would’ve been the equivalent of what she would’ve received if she had stayed on the show for four seasons.
The actresses accusations and confidential settlement came to light during an investigation that began in August after the CBS Corporation board hired law firms, Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton, to examine accusations of sexual misconduct that were made by multiple women against CBS’ former CEO Leslie Moonves. The board had also instructed the firm’s lawyers to investigate “cultural issues at all levels of CBS.”
In a draft of the investigation report, the lawyers said that the company’s handling of Dushku’s complaints were misguided and also suggested larger problems at CBS.
On Wednesday, CBS confirmed the settlement and they pledged to improve working conditions. “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 statement 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,” it continued.
Through an email to the Times, Weatherly also apologized for his behavior toward Dushku during the show. “During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” Weatherly wrote in the email sent to the Times. “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.”
For the past several months, CBS has been surrounded by controversy after more than a dozen women accused former CBS chief executive, Moonves of sexual misconduct.
In November, the Times reported that Moonves had worked to bury allegations of a forced sexual encounter from one of the accuser’s. Moonves has continued to deny allegations of retaliation and maintains that all his sexual interactions have been consensual.