Michael Weatherly, who is best known for his roles on NCIS and Bull, is the next Hollywood star to come under fire for sexual harassment. Actress Eliza Dushku, who worked with Weatherly on Bull for three episodes, came forward with her claims saying that Weatherly made inappropriate comments about her on set.
Dushku said that when she approached the producers of the show about her concerns, they wrote her off the show. Her character was supposed to become a series regular, and she was instead limited to three episodes.
When the news came out that Weatherly had made inappropriate comments, the actor released a statement apologizing and taking full responsibility.
During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,. 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.
Weatherly later elaborated on the line he was joking about.
"The scripted line in that scene was, "˜Hey, young lady, step into my windowless van,'" Weatherly said. "I didn't particularly like that line, so I joked, in order to highlight how distasteful the emphasis of the line was, about an "˜r. van,' a rape van. Which, in retrospect, was not a good idea."
After all this, it came out that CBS had settled with Dushku for $9.5 million in a "secret settlement." The network released a statement on the matter.
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 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.
While it seemed this issue was all dealt with, it was settled after all, Dushku ended up penning an essay in the Boston Globe, where she called out the network, Weatherly, and producers for allowing this behavior.
The narrative propagated by CBS, actor Michael Weatherly, and writer-producer Glenn Gordon Caron is deceptive and in no way fits with how they treated me on the set of the television show Bull and retaliated against me for simply asking to do my job without relentless sexual harassment.
This is not a "˜he-said/she-said' case. Weatherly's behavior was captured on CBS's own videotape recordings.
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.' ...
For weeks, Weatherly was recorded making sexual comments, and was recorded mimicking penis jousting with a male costar, this directly on the heels of the "˜threesome' proposal, and another time referring to me repeatedly as "˜legs.'
He regularly commented on my "˜ravishing' beauty, following up with audible groans, oohing and aahing' ... 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' ... There was daily undeniably demeaning conduct that is unacceptable in an absolute sense.
Former co-stars of Weatherly have been stepping up in his defense, saying he's got a big heart. Pauley Perrette posted a cute picture of her and Weatherly from their days on NCIS.
"This man...I love, respect, trust, and I KNOW. TWO decades of friendship and respect. The best. I love you @M_Weatherly Always and forever," along with a photo of the pair smiling together.
Sasha Alexander, also from NCIS, did the same.
"I have been in trenches w/ my friend @M_Weatherly. Always laughs, true friend & [a heart] as big as they come," she wrote.
Weatherly's current co-star, Geneva Carr, stood up for the actor as well.
"This guy...3 years in and I have nothing but respect for
@M_Weatherly Always creative, generous and wise. He's got my friendship for good."
As of right now, there doesn't seem to be any fallout for Weatherly in terms of losing his job. The fact that he apologized, accepted responsibility, and Dusku took a settlement likely means there won't be any cancelations of Bull any time soon.
In a new interview with Time, the actress, 38, says the non-disclosure agreement she signed as part of her $9.5 million settlement means she has to "talk in code" when she wants to discuss the situation.