Actress Eliza Dushku, perhaps still best known for her role as Faith on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” broke her silence Wednesday about her $9.5 million settlement with CBS that details her accusations against her fellow “Bull” co-star Michael Weatherly, showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron (former “Moonlighting” writer), and the network.
In a piece published by The Boston Globe, Dushku explains that she felt compelled to present her account because of The New York Times exposé on her settlement, for which she’d declined an interview in an attempt to “honor the terms of my settlement with the network.”
“I was under the impression that Weatherly and Caron would also not respond per our settlement. Instead, both commented to the Times in what amounted to more deflection, denial, and spin,” she writes.
Dushku begins by providing some context for her blow-up with Weatherly, Caron and the network, noting that CBS “vigorously courted” her for several shows and presented her role in “Bull” as a true co-lead in the mode of “Moonlighting,” intended to “balance” the womanizing lead played by Weatherly. In fact, that crucial male-female balance was one of the reasons Caron was brought in at the end of season one.
“And so I was hired to finish the last three episodes of season one, with CBS’s expressed intention of my beginning season two as a series regular with an option for up to six seasons,” she writes. But things went south quickly.
“Weatherly harassed me from early on,” Dushku states. “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. Minutes later, a crew member sidled up next to me and, with a smirk, said in a low voice, ‘I’m with Bull. I wanna have a threesome with you too.'”
As the recordings show, she writes, Weatherly repeatedly made sexual jokes over a period of weeks, including some mock “penis jousting with a male costar” following the “threesome” comment, calling her “legs,” and making “audible groans, oohing and aahing” while discussing her beauty.
“As the tapes show, he liked to boast about his sperm and vasectomy reversals (‘I want you to know, Eliza, I have powerful swimmers’),” she writes. “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.'”
After putting up with this for weeks, she says she attempted to resolve the issue “directly” but as “diplomatic[ally]” as possible with Weatherly, asking him to be her “ally” to “help ease the sexualized set comments.”
“Eliza, no one respects women more than I do,” he said, according to Dushku, even going so far as describing him as being “too respectful” of the opposite sex.
The result, as she found out later, was that “Weatherly texted CBS Television President David Stapf about 40 minutes after our conversation and asked for what amounted to my being written off the show” because of her “humor deficit.”
Dushku’s case is not the only sexual harassment scandal haunting CBS: the network is bracing for a major shake-up after the ouster of former CEO Leslie Moonves and host Charlie Rose over the last year amid similarly ugly allegations.