Eliza Dushku, an actress on the CBS show “Bull,” was paid $9.5 million to confidentially settle allegations she was dismissed from the series after she complained about being harassed on set, sources confirmed Thursday.
Dushku was featured in the first season of the CBS procedural drama, playing a criminal defense lawyer. She confronted “Bull” star Michael Weatherly about comments he made that left her uncomfortable.
The alleged remarks included references to her appearance and a rape joke.
The revelations were uncovered during a broad review of CBS’ workplace culture prompted by sexual misconduct allegations against longtime Chief Executive Leslie Moonves. Multiple women accused the former executive of making unwanted advances. Moonves resigned under pressure in September. The investigation, at the behest of CBS’ board, continued.
“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,” the broadcaster said in its statement.
The settlement, reached in January, came after she went through mediation with CBS. By that time, CBS had become aware of allegations of sexual misconduct involving Moonves.
The investigators — attorneys at two high-profile New York law firms — have interviewed more than 350 people at various divisions.
The investigators are expected to deliver a report to CBS’ board in the coming days, according to knowledgeable people. The result of the investigation will help determine whether the board has justification to fire Moonves for cause, denying him a $120-million severance package.
A draft of the investigators’ findings was leaked to the New York Times last week.
Such disclosures have complicated the review because participants had been told that their conversations would be kept confidential. The breach could give Moonves an opening to challenge the review.
The investigators, according to the draft report, have concluded that CBS’ board has justification to fire Moonves with cause.
Weatherly could not be reached for comment. He made several comments directed at Dushku she found demeaning, according to the New York Times.
In one incident Dushku described to investigators, she made a gesture with three fingers and, in response, Weatherly suggested she wanted a threesome with him and another cast member.
While shooting a scene involving a windowless van, Weatherly said he would take Dushku to his “rape van,” according to the report.
Dushku told investigators that after she confronted Weatherly about the comments, she was told she would not be returning to the show.
“During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” Mr. Weatherly said in the statement to the New York 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.”
“Bull” has become one of CBS’ top prime-time shows.
It runs on Monday nights and stars Weatherly as the brash and bespectacled Dr. Jason Bull.