Eliza Dushku Claims CBS Tapes Show Michael Weatherly's Offer to Take Her to His 'Rape Van'
Detailing claims of the actor’s inappropriate behavior in an op-ed for The Boston Globe, Dushku, 37, recalls multiple incidents that allegedly occurred after she joined the cast in March 2017. However, after she confronted Weatherly, 50, about his “bad behavior,” the actress states she and her character, J.P. Nunnelly, were written off the show by writer-producer Glenn Gordon Caron.
“I took a job and, because I did not want to be harassed, I was fired,” she writes, adding that she was hired by CBS to star in the last three episodes of season 1 with the intention of signing on as a series regular for season 2 and the option of staying for up to six seasons.
“In explaining his bad behavior, Weatherly, who plays Dr. Bull, claimed I didn’t get his attempt at humor. That’s how a perpetrator rationalizes when he is caught,” Dushku shares. “I do not want to hear that I have a ‘humor deficit’ or can’t take a joke. I did not over-react.”
Among the many claims she makes, Dushku alleges Weatherly’s harassment is on record with the company. “Weatherly’s behavior was captured on CBS’s own videotape recordings,” she writes. “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.’ ”
A rep for Weatherly did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In a statement to the New York Times, Weatherly said he regrets what he said and how he made Dushku feel.
“During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” Weatherly said in the statement to the Times. “When Eliza told me that she wasn’t comfortable with my language and attempt at humor, I was mortified to have offended her and immediately apologized. After reflecting on this further, I better understand that what I said was both not funny and not appropriate and I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza.”
In her op-ed, Dushku also recalls an instance on set when Weatherly allegedly made fun of a required sexual harassment training in front of her husband Peter Palandjian. “The tapes show Weatherly routinely exclaimed ‘yellow card’ after distasteful remarks. I learned from crew members that, because there had been previous harassment training on Bull, Weatherly’s delight in yelling ‘yellow card’ was his way of mocking the very harassment training that was meant to keep him in line,” she states.
Recalling a more recent event, when she had to re-watch the recordings of Weatherly, Dushku calls his conduct “unwelcome” and “undeniably demeaning,” explaining, “Watching the recordings in the settlement process, it is easy to see how uncomfortable, speechless, and frozen he made me feel.”
Her editorial piece comes days after it was revealed that the network paid her $9.5 million in a settlement earlier this year after she came forward with allegations against Weatherly.
“Weatherly sexually harassed and bullied me day-in and day-out and would have gotten away with it had he not been caught on tape, and had the CBS lawyers not inadvertently shared the tapes with my counsel,” Dushku writes. “Reflecting on the whole ordeal, it often makes me think with sadness of the majority of victims who do not have the benefit of the fortunate evidence — the tapes that I had.”
In describing the interactions she had with Weatherly and Caron that led to her “wrongful termination,” Dushku claims “Caron had gotten rid of me without the knowledge or consent of that CBS team” following a conversation he had with the show’s lead actor.
“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,’ ” she says.
In a statement to the Times, Caron said the decision to write off Dushku’s character had nothing to do with her experiences on the set. “The idea that our not exercising her option to join the series was in any way punitive just couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.
Dushku also references how Weatherly “bragged” about his friendship with ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves, who was fired after numerous women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct against him. (Moonves continues to claim all sexual encounters between him and his alleged victims were consensual.)
After receiving the $9.5 million settlement — which, according to Dushku, was the amount that “represented a portion of what I would have earned had I finished my potential six-year contract” — from CBS, the actress describes two other stipulations she had demanded be a part of the settlement.
“I wanted a culture change. A significant settlement condition was my requirement that CBS designate an individual trained in sexual harassment compliance to monitor Weatherly and the show in general,” Dushku says. “CBS did not want to do this, but I wouldn’t settle without this condition. Another condition I insisted on was that I be allowed to meet with Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin Television coproduces Bull, so I could talk with him about what occurred on his set.”
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The star adds, “I have not yet had my meeting with Spielberg, but I cannot help but wonder where the legendary Hollywood director was throughout all of this. I have been a lifelong fan and assumed that if anyone could make changes, it would be Spielberg.”
On her reasoning to write the op-ed, Dushku says in her conclusion, “I do feel it is my duty to respond honestly and thoroughly to CBS, Michael Weatherly, and Glenn Gordon Caron’s latest revisionist accounts.”
In a previous statement to PEOPLE, CBS spoke about the mediation process with Dushku.
“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,” a spokesperson for CBS 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.”