Behind CBS’s secret $13 million settlement with Eliza Dushku


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Particulars of Dushku’s experiences on Bull and the confidential settlement she reached with the community emerged in the course of the course of an investigation that started in August, when CBS Company’s board employed two legislation corporations to look at accusations of sexual misconduct made by a number of ladies towards Leslie Moonves, the corporate’s former chief government. The board additionally instructed the surface attorneys to research “cultural points in any respect ranges of CBS”.

In a draft of the investigation report, which was reviewed by The New York Occasions, the attorneys mentioned the community’s dealing with of Dushku’s complaints was not solely misguided, however emblematic of bigger issues at CBS. When confronted with situations of wrongdoing, the corporate had a bent to guard itself, on the expense of victims, the investigators wrote.

Dushku declined to remark for this text. In an announcement on Thursday, CBS confirmed the settlement and pledged to enhance working situations.

“The allegations in Ms Dushku’s claims are an instance that, whereas we stay dedicated to a tradition outlined by a protected, inclusive and respectful office, our work is much from carried out,” the assertion mentioned. “The settlement of those claims displays the projected quantity that Ms Dushku would have acquired for the stability of her contract as a sequence common, and was decided in a mutually agreed upon mediation course of on the time.”

In an emailed assertion to The Occasions, Weatherly apologised for his habits with Dushku.

“Through the course of taping our present, I made some jokes mocking some strains within the script,” Weatherly mentioned within the assertion. “When Eliza instructed me that she wasn’t comfy with my language and try at humour, I used to be mortified to have offended her and instantly apologised. After reflecting on this additional, I higher perceive that what I mentioned was each not humorous and never applicable and I’m sorry and remorse the ache this triggered Eliza.”

Eliza Dushku in 2016.

Eliza Dushku in 2016. Credit score:CHRIS PIZZELLO

When Dushku signed on with Bull at $US35,000 ($48,700) per episode – a determine that may have elevated considerably if she had continued on the present – there have been “effectively developed plans” to have her develop into a daily forged member, in line with the draft of the investigators’ report.

The investigation’s findings present how Dushku sought to deal with conduct she discovered demeaning, why she believed she confronted retaliation and the way a prime CBS lawyer tried to undermine her claims with what investigators described as an “antiquated” view of how a girl ought to comport herself within the office.

On Bull, Dushku performed J.P. Nunnelly, a prison defence lawyer. Though she would have a operating flirtation with Weatherly’s character, the producer, Caron, mentioned he “would not need intimacy” till the present’s fifth season, in line with notes taken by a participant in an interview Dushku gave investigators in September.

However it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Weatherly began making feedback that left her feeling uncomfortable. “Right here comes legs,” he mentioned on a day when Dushku was sporting a go well with, in line with the interview notes. On one other event, Dushku instructed investigators, Weatherly mentioned in entrance of the forged and crew that he would bend her over his leg and spank her.

In an interview, Weatherly mentioned the comment about spanking was meant as a joke. “I ad-libbed a joke, a traditional Cary Grant line from Charade or Philadelphia Story, and that meant by no means that that was an motion I wished to take,” he mentioned.

Dushku additionally described to investigators a time on the set when, in character, she made a gesture with three fingers. In response, she mentioned, Weatherly recommended – to laughs from the crew – that she wished to have a threesome with him and one other male forged member.

Due to his standing on the present, his behaviour was contagious, in Dushku’s view. She instructed investigators crew member approached her at one level and mentioned with a chuckle, “I am with Bull,” earlier than suggesting that he, too, wished to participate in a threesome along with her.

The trade left Dushku feeling “disgusting and violated,” in line with the interview notes.


Weatherly mentioned that when he talked about a threesome, it was to not counsel Dushku participate in a threesome with him and one other forged member. “Whereas we’re capturing, within the context of the scene, she held up three fingers, suggesting one thing,” he mentioned. “And I ad-libbed, ‘Threesome?'”

Then got here the capturing of a scene involving a windowless van. With the cameras rolling, in entrance of the forged and crew, Weatherly mentioned he would take Dushku to his “rape van,” which, he added, was full of phallic objects and lubricant, in line with the interview notes.

Weatherly mentioned the “rape van” line was an tried joke that misfired. “The scripted line in that scene was, ‘Hey, younger girl, step into my windowless van,'” he mentioned. “I did not significantly like that line, so I joked, as a way to spotlight how distasteful the emphasis of the road was, about an ‘r. van,’ a rape van. Which, on reflection, was not a good suggestion.”

Dushku shared her issues with Caron, who appeared receptive, in line with the interview notes, they usually agreed that she would strategy Weatherly.

She started by telling Weatherly that “everybody loves” him on the set and adopted his lead. She identified that after he made the threesome remark, a crew member mentioned one thing just like her, in line with the interview notes. Weatherly requested Dushku who had made the comment and why she didn’t report it. As Dushku later instructed the attorneys, she didn’t have the sense that there was a “protected particular person you may go to” with that sort of criticism.

After the discuss, Weatherly despatched a textual content to David Stapf, president of CBS Tv Studios, saying that he wished to speak about Dushku’s sense of humour. Stapf replied that Dushku made the present higher, in line with the interview notes.

Across the identical time, Dushku expressed the concern to her representatives that Weatherly would possibly go to CBS and get her fired.

That’s successfully what occurred. Inside days of confronting Weatherly, Dushku was written off the present. The plan to make her a part of the forged was over. By the use of rationalization, Caron instructed her that he “did not know the right way to write” her into the present anymore, in line with the interview notes.

Weatherly denied pushing for Dushku’s removing. “It is my recollection that I did not inform anybody how they need to do their job relating to the hiring or firing of anyone,” he mentioned.

Caron, who joined Bull in 2017 and later turned its showrunner, mentioned the choice to finish Dushku’s run had nothing to do along with her experiences on the set. “The concept our not exercising her choice to hitch the sequence was in any method punitive simply could not be farther from the reality,” he mentioned in an announcement.

A still from Bull, starring Michael Weatherly as Dr Jason Bull and Stephanie Kurtzuba as Rebecca Hall.

A nonetheless from Bull, starring Michael Weatherly as Dr Jason Bull and Stephanie Kurtzuba as Rebecca Corridor. Credit score:CBS

On considered one of her last days on Bull, Weatherly insisted that Dushku keep for a drink celebrating the wrap of one other season. Dushku thought that was odd, as a result of she wouldn’t be not returning and had been open about the truth that she didn’t drink.

Through the toast, Weatherly mentioned he wanted a “actually stunning lady” to seize a ticket for a raffle. “Eliza,” he mentioned in entrance of everybody, in line with the interview notes, “we’d like you, probably the most stunning lady, to return seize the raffle ticket.”

Dushku, in her last moments as a part of the Bull sphere, performed alongside, though she felt “embarrassed and humiliated”.

After contemplating a lawsuit, Dushku entered into mediation with CBS. Mark Engstrom, the chief compliance officer at CBS, participated, together with a associate on the legislation agency that was serving as exterior counsel for the corporate.

Engstrom handed over outtakes from Bull within the perception that they’d assist the community’s trigger, as a result of they confirmed Dushku cursing on the set, investigators wrote within the draft of their report.

The technique backfired. The outtakes had been a “gold mine” for Dushku, the attorneys wrote, as a result of they “really captured a number of the harassment on movie”.

Though the investigators praised Engstrom for his “super institutional data” and described him as a “good and really succesful lawyer,” they mentioned the corporate’s failure to recognise the situations of harassment caught on tape was a symptom of bigger issues at CBS, in line with the draft of their report. Engstrom declined to remark.


Weatherly, Caron and Amblin Tv had been events to the settlement settlement, which prohibited Dushku from discussing her experiences on the present in trade for the $13 million fee.

The settlement settlement took place in January, when the #MeToo motion was on the rise, three months after the primary articles on Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct appeared in The Occasions and The New Yorker.

A historical past of misbehavior and sexual harassment on the a part of distinguished males at CBS has come to mild previously 13 months. Along with forcing the departure of Moonves, CBS has fired two different well-known figures: Charlie Rose, a co-anchor of CBS This Morning, who was accused of sexual misconduct by a number of ladies; and Jeff Fager, long-time government producer of 60 Minutes, after he despatched a threatening textual content message to a CBS reporter wanting into allegations that he had engaged in sexually inappropriate office habits.

Eight months after the settlement, when Dushku sat for the interview with the attorneys investigating CBS, she mentioned she welcomed the possibility to talk her piece. “You are all I’ve at this level,” she instructed them. “My story is true and it is actually affected me, and I am unable to discuss it.”

The New York Occasions

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