Actress Eliza Dushku believes she was written off the CBS series "Bull" because she complained about inappropriate on-set comments made by her co-star Michael Weatherly. It all culminated in a secret confidential settlement that was reached between CBS and Dushku. The actress made $9.5 million out of the ordeal. The details claim that on-set sexual comments by Weatherly made her uncomfortable when she was beginning a run as a recurring character back in March of 2017.
CBS confirmed the settlement on Thursday night in a statement to AP.
“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 CBS 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.”
The settlement has only been revealed now because of the current investigation of former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who was fired in September after a dozen women claimed he sexually mistreated them with forced oral sex, groping and retaliation if they would resist to his advances.
Weatherly denies ever making the sexually impermissible jokes, adding that, if anything, he had made jokes to Dushku during taping mocking lines in the script.
$9.5 million for offensively derogatory comments. This sets a scary precedent going forward. As far as we know, there was no physical harassment charge. Or private inappropriate behavior. Or criminal behavior. Words only. It pays to be offended.
Ironically, all the discussion is about the 'inappropriate' remarks, but her lawsuit wasn't about that, it was because she wasn't offered a contract. The company had an option to offer her a contract and chose not to pick it up. She only sued when her character was written out instead. She wanted the contract despite "being embarrassed and uncomfortable".
Dushku's lawsuit claims that because she complained about her co-star, she wasn't offered a contract renewal. CBS had an option to offer her a contract and chose not to pick it up.
Of course, it's not her fault, and it's bad for the show to be killing her off because she complained about her co-star. THAT is the scary precedent -- that telling someone about inappropriate behavior could get you fired. Unfortunately, this is nothing new in the industry. That's what usually happens, but the point is to change it, not to pay people off. The fact that CBS would decide to just pay someone off like instead of dealing with the problem is another sign that the Moonves-era at that network was an incredibly toxic wasteland of corruption.