TV & Movies

Eliza Dushku paid $9.5M by CBS after accusing costar Michael Weatherly of sexual harassment

Eliza Dushku was paid $9.5 million by CBS in a secret settlement after she accused Michael Weatherly of harassment and was subsequently written off of Bull.

The actress, 37, first came forward with the claims against her former costar following his inappropriate remarks at the beginning of their professional relationship, the New York Times reported.

The pair had been working together on CBS’s primetime drama — Dushku joining the show in March 2017, playing a character that had a major three-episode arc, with plans to be added as a series regular.

Not long after her start, however, Weatherly, 50, allegedly commented on Dushku’s appearance, brought up a threesome, and made a rape joke in front of other cast and crew members, according to the Times.

Representatives for Dushku and Weatherly did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Weatherly told the Times he regrets what he said and how he made his costar feel.

“During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” Weatherly said in the statement to the publication. “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’s accusations and the settlement came to light as part of an investigation which is examining the behavior of the company’s former chief executive Leslie Moonves and the culture as a whole at CBS. A draft report of that investigation was obtained by the Times.

One particular instance, Dushku told investigators she made a gesture with three fingers and, in response, Weatherly allegedly made a crude comment about having a threesome with him and another cast member from Bull, the report obtained by the Times says.

She also alleged that Weatherly would he make comments publicly about bending her over his leg and spanking her.

She also alleged that when filming a scene with a windowless van Weatherly said he would take her to his “rape van.”

His behavior was enough to make Dushku extremely uncomfortable, causing her to bring it to his attention, the Times reports. But only a short time after their confrontation, Dushku was stunned to learn that her once-promising character had been suddenly written off the show.

As a result, Dushku signed a confidential settlement, granting her $9.5 million — approximately the same amount she would have made as a Bull cast member for four seasons, according to the Times.

According to a draft of the investigation report, obtained by the Times, lawyers handling the case explained that Dushku’s complaints signified much larger issues at CBS that were yet to be resolved.

In a statement to PEOPLE, the company spoke to those concerns and touched upon the mediation process with Dushku.

“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 spokesperson for 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,” they added.

CBS has been surrounded in controversy for months since over a dozen women also accused Moonves of sexual misconduct.

A recent copy of a draft report by outside lawyers from a CBS investigation into the former CEO indicated that he allegedly engaged in multiple acts of transactional sex, some of which were consensual and some of which weren’t.

According to the documents, dated Nov. 27 and obtained by the Times, Moonves — who was ousted from his role by the broadcast network in mid-September — allegedly had an employee ” ‘on call’ to perform oral sex” whenever he demanded it.

Moonves has maintained claims against him are either untrue or are the result of consensual relationships.

“Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am,” he said in a previous statement.

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