Dushku appeared in the first season of the procedural, initially being brought on for a three-episode arc with plans to make her a regular cast member. But during her time on set, Dushku says that series star Michael Weatherly repeatedly made sexual remarks and jokes in her presence.
In one such instance, Dushku says her character held up three fingers in a scene, after which Weatherly made a joke about engaging in a threesome with her and another man. She also said Weatherly made a comment about spanking her in front of the cast and crew, and invited her to his “rape van” (which Weatherly told the Times was a reference to a line in “Bull”).
Dushku said she approached Weatherly to say the remarks made her uncomfortable. Shortly thereafter, her character was written off the show.
Weatherly issued an apology to the Times, saying, “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.”
The actor, however, maintained that he did not push for Dushku to be removed from the show. “It’s my recollection that I didn’t tell anyone how they should do their job regarding the hiring or firing of anybody,” he said.
“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,” CBS told the NYT in a statement. “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.”
News of the settlement comes after a raft of sexual harassment and assault allegations at the highest levels of CBS. CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves was ousted from the company after multiple women accused him of sexual assault. “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose was also fired after multiple women accused him of harassment, while “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager was forced out following similar accusations.