Actor Eliza Dushku shared her experience facing sexual harassment on the set of CBS’ “Bull” in front of a House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, speaking out about being fired from the show and forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
In 2016, Dushku had a recurring role in Season 1 of “Bull” that was meant to become a regular role, but she alleges that she was fired from the show after accusing star Michael Weatherly of sexual harassment. She received a $9.5 million settlement from CBS, the Boston Globe reported in 2018.
“I was told that the role would be a six-year commitment to play a smart, strong leading lady, a confident high-powered lawyer meant to counterbalance the existing male lead, and that the role had been written specifically with me in mind,” Dushku said. “However, in my first week on my new job I found myself the brunt of crude, sexualized and lewd verbal assaults. I suffered near constant sexual harassment from my co-star. This was beyond anything I had experienced in my 30-year career.”
She didn’t refer to Weatherly by name, but she added that the male co-star “frequently referred to me as ‘legs.’ He would smell me and leeringly look me up and down. Off script, in front of about 100 crew members and cast members, he once said that he would take me 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. Another time he told me that his sperm were powerful swimmers.”
Dushku alleged that after speaking to the co-star about toning down his comments, he texted the head of CBS Studios and she was fired the next day. She added that she was silenced by the arbitration clause in her contract.
“I’ve worked as an actress since I was a child and signed countless contracts negotiated on my behalf, but never understood that there were mandatory arbitration clauses that 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 said.
Dushku spoke in front of a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Silenced: How Forced Arbitration Keeps Victims of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Shadow.” CBS did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
See Dushku’s remarks below.
— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudiciary) November 16, 2021