Eliza Dushku has put TV bosses on blast for allegedly trying to “spin” the narrative surrounding the sexual harassment allegations she made against actor Michael Weatherly.
The actress hit headlines last week (14Dec18) after it was revealed that she had received a $9.5 million (£7.5 million) settlement from CBS network chiefs after complaining about the behaviour of Weatherly on the set of his legal drama Bull.
Dushku had guest starred on the series beginning in March, 2017, but she was made to feel uncomfortable by the leading man after he reportedly made inappropriate comments about her appearance, suggested a threesome with another co-star, and made a rape joke in front of other cast and crew members.
According to The New York Times, after confronting Weatherly about the remarks, Dushku learned her character, which was set to become a series regular, was being written out of the series.
An internal investigation followed, and in exchange for signing a confidential agreement, Dushku was said to have walked away with $9.5 million – the estimated amount she would have made as a cast member for four seasons on the programme.
Weatherly also issued an apology in the Times piece, insisting he had simply been mocking lines from the script.
Now Dushku has broken her silence about the expose in a detailed op-ed for the Boston Globe, slamming those involved in her exit for the way they have reportedly manipulated the story.
“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,” she states.
Claiming Weatherly began targetting her “early on” in her stint on the show, she explained, “I can handle a locker room. I do not want to hear that I have a ‘humor deficit’ or can’t take a joke. I did not over-react. I took a job and, because I did not want to be harassed, I was fired.”
Dushku claimed she began to “feel dread” whenever she had to be in Weatherly’s presence because the bullying was relentless.
She also indicates the settlement was “a portion” of her earning potential for what was expected to be a six-year contract, and was only agreed to after video evidence CBS lawyers had sent to her legal representative and had planned to use against her actually highlighted Weatherly’s behaviour.
“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,” she added.
Dushku concludes the piece by insisting the dispute “wasn’t just about money”, and was actually more about a “culture change”, pointing out one key stipulation of the deal was to hire “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 shared.
Network executives have yet to respond to the op-ed, which was published two days after CBS bosses officially terminated disgraced chairman Les Moonves and denied his $120 million (£95 million) severance pay following a string of sexual misconduct claims made against him. He is said to have overseen the settlement with Dushku.