The investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against former CBS President Les Moonves has revealed that actress Eliza Dushku was paid a confidential settlement of $9.5 million from the company, after she alleged that co-star Michael Weatherly sexually harassed her while filming Bull last year, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Dushku, who was hired to play the love interest of Weatherly’s character on the dramedy inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw, filmed three episodes of the show and was supposed to appear in more. However, Dushku was written off the show following her complaints that Weatherly had made inappropriate comments.
Dushku said Weatherly made a joke about her wanting to have a threesome with him and asked her to go to his “rape van.” He allegedly called her “legs” and said in front of others that he would spank her over his knee.
Dushku declined to comment for the NYT story, but both CBS and Weatherly offered words.
“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,” a statement from the network read. “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 offered an apology.
“During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script. 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.”
Weatherly, who previously starred on NCIS, explained that the reference to a rape van came from an episode of their show.
“The scripted line in that scene was, ‘Hey, young lady, step into my windowless van,'” Weatherly said. “I didn’t particularly like that line, so I joked, in order to highlight how distasteful the emphasis of the line was, about an ‘r. van,’ a rape van.”
Weatherly said that he hadn’t asked for Dushku to be fired.
“It’s my recollection that I didn’t tell anyone how they should do their job regarding the hiring or firing of anybody,” he told the Times.
Moonves left CBS in September, after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct and, in some cases, harming their careers after they rejected his sexual advances. Actress Cybill Shepherd said on Thursday’s episode of SiriusXM’s “The Michelle Collins Show” that she experienced that with her ’90s sitcom Cybill, which was canceled after Moonves allegedly propositioned her.
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