Actress Eliza Dushku Gives Details of Sexual Harassment While She Worked at CBS
NEW YORK – December 20, 2018
Eliza Dushku, an actress known for her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a major role in three episodes of the CBS prime-time drama Bull, disclosed to the Boston Globe the details what actually happened at CBS between her and her former co-workers, actor Michael Weatherly and writer-producer Glenn Gordon Caron, who have been accused of sexual harassment.
“Weatherly harassed me from early on. The tapes show his offer to take me to his ‘rape van,’ filled with all sorts of lubricants and long phallic things. There was also his constant name-calling; playing provocative songs (like Barracuda) on his iPhone when I approached my set marks, and his remark about having a threesome. He made the threesome remark to me about himself and me in a room full of people,” Dushku recalls.
“For weeks, Weatherly was recorded making sexual comments, and was recorded mimicking penis jousting with a male costar — this directly on the heels of the ‘threesome’ proposal — and another time referring to me repeatedly as ‘legs.’ He regularly commented on my ‘ravishing’ beauty, following up with audible groans, oohing and aahing,” Dushku continues. “As the tapes show, he liked to boast about his sperm and vasectomy reversals (“I want you to know, Eliza, I have powerful swimmers”). Weatherly had a habit of exaggerated eye-balling and leering at me; once, he leaned into my body and inhaled, smelling me in a dramatic swoon. As was caught on tape, after I flubbed a line, he shouted in my face, ‘I will take you over my knee and spank you like a little girl.’ This was classic workplace harassment that became workplace bullying.”
Eliza said that Weatherly never apologized to her. “Instead, I was fired shortly after speaking with him.”
As for Caron, the Bull showrunner, he was undaunted to do Weatherly’s bidding, the actress said. “The fact is that Caron wrote me off the show within 48 hours of my complaints about Weatherly. According to what top production brass at CBS told my agent, Caron had gotten rid of me without the knowledge or consent of that CBS team. Caron personally fired me as I was filming on set one afternoon. It is highly unusual to get fired in the middle of a shooting.”
Dushku added, “My talent representatives spoke to Caron about my firing months later. Caron defended Weatherly, explaining he had simply exhibited ‘frat’ behavior and added, ‘What does [Eliza] expect, she was in Maxim.’ On the subject of my legal rights, Caron said to my manager, ‘If Eliza wants to be out of the business by suing CBS, she can be out of the business.’”
CBS ultimately paid Dushku $9.5 million earlier this year to settle the allegations — an amount that represented a portion of what the actress would have earned had she finished her potential six-year contract.
“The condition CBS required of me was that I not speak about what happened. I really struggled with this and still do. Some online ‘posters’ have called it hush money. Headlines have called it a ‘secret settlement,’’’ Eliza said.
“How was I to get paid? I have worked in this industry for close to 30 years. I faced a wrongful termination, the prospect of a three-to-five year lawsuit, and million-dollar legal fees for a war with a massive corporation. And where would that war have been fought? According to the fine print in my contract with CBS, I was required to submit to a ‘confidential’ arbitration, where all ‘proceedings will be closed to the public and confidential, and all records relating thereto will be permanently sealed.’ No judge, no jury, and no chance of anyone finding out what really happened (or so they hoped). In the end, I found uneasy solace in the important conditions I imposed on CBS, and that I would get paid for at least some of my contract. But I do feel it is my duty to respond honestly and thoroughly to CBS, Michael Weatherly, and Glenn Gordon Caron’s latest revisionist accounts.”
Weatherly, 50, was a star of the network’s most popular drama NCIS for 13 seasons before CBS gave him Bull. The character he plays, Dr. Jason Bull, is a self-assured trial consultant.
Bull, an hour long procedural series that premiered in September 2016, is the 10th most-watched entertainment program on network television. The main character is loosely based on Dr. Phil McGraw, who worked as a trial consultant before he became a popular talk-show host.
Dushku, 37, has been in show business for more than 20 years. In addition to her recurring role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she was a regular on the shows Angel, Dollhouse and Banshee. She became a voice in the #MeToo movement earlier this year when she claimed in a Facebook post that she had been molested by a stunt coordinator as a 12-year-old on the set of the 1994 movie True Lies. The stunt coordinator denied her allegations.