Eliza Dushku is finally able to break her silence regarding sexual harassment from Michael Weatherly, her former “Bull” CBS costar. Yesterday, she spoke for the House Judiciary in order to fight against the enforcement of arbitration in cases of sexual harassment, attempting to convince Congress to pass a new bill.
The hearing was entitled “Silenced: How Forced Arbitration Keeps Victims of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Shadows.” And during the hearing, 40 year old Dushku claims that, in her 30 years of work as an actress, this is the first case where something this drastic has occurred to her. Additionally, she’s shocked that arbitration is something that’s been present in many of her contracts. She describes that the clauses “would be used to keep what had happened to me a secret and would protect CBS and the sexual harassment perpetrator, who had blatantly retaliated against me for trying the stop the harassment in my workplace.”
Dushku additionally explains that the harassment had been present since week one, that Weatherly would call her sexualized names, look her up and down, smell her, and shamelessly make inappropriate jokes at her in front of crew members. Her 53 year old costar said he wanted to take her “to his rape van and use lube and long phallic things on me, and take me over his knee and spank me like a little girl.” Worse, the poor behavior spread to other people on set, and it was also filmed on camera before the footage was put under lock and key.
“I was shocked to learn that I signed away my rights to a public forum before taking a job,” she said. “Who would ever think up such a clause? Who were these clauses meant to favor and protect? It suddenly became very clear: Not me.”
According to Yahoo, although Dushku ultimately settled for the approximate pay-out of her 6 year contract, she also had to sign an NDA. Deadline explains that she was only able to “break that silence” as she was responding to a congressional subpoena to testify. Before settling, she feared harm to her professional reputation and decided that legal action would be too much of a risk. Instead, she started dressing down for work, even borrowing sweats from her husband, in an attempt to avoid the harassment. When she eventually asked her costar to be her ally and calm down on the sexual comments, she describes that he “responded in feign shock” and that “’No one is more respectful of women than me. I grew up with sisters.’”
After the exchange with Weatherly, the actress eventually found out that he had texted the executive, David Stapf. Despite her being “aggressively pursued” for a role created expressly for her, she was fired less than 24 hours after the text conversation. According to Weatherly, the actress had a “humor deficit” and was no longer wanted on the show. Despite Stapf’s comments that Dushku made the show better, she was still fired.
Although she was able to reach a $9.5 million settlement, Dushku explains that she will never see real justice, and neither will those who still aren’t as lucky as she is to speak up. She argues that if people could have seen the tapes, “accountability would have changed the outcome,” pressing on the fact that these jokes were not based off of the script and that they made her feel “physically nauseous.”
And, as reported by the NY Daily News, “Despite the settlement and Dushku’s allegations, “Bull” was renewed the next season and remains on the air with Weatherly staying on as psychologist Michael Bull.”
CBS and Weatherly representatives have both refused to comment on the testimony.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or harassment, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest service provider. You can also search for your local center here.
The post Eliza Dushku Breaks Silence on Sexual Harassment On CBS’s “Bull” Set appeared first on Personal Injury Lawyer Los Angeles CA.