Eliza Dushku says she suffered “near constant” sexual harassment on the set of the CBS procedural “Bull” before being fired for complaining.
Testifying virtually in front of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, the 40-year-old actress described the crude remarks and so-called jokes made by her co-star, who she did not name but previously identified as Michael Weatherly, during her 2017 turn on the show.
“In my first week on my new job I found myself the brunt of crude, sexualized and lewd verbal assaults,” Dushku said during the hearing, titled “Silenced: How Forced Arbitration Keeps Victims of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Shadow.”
“This was beyond anything I had experienced in my 30-year career.”
Weatherly would refer to Dushku as “legs” and leer at her on set, she testified.
“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,” she said.
Another time, she claims, he “he told me that his sperm were powerful swimmers.”
Dushku said she eventually asked Weatherly to “tone down some of the sexualized comments directed at me,” at which point he texted David Stapf, the head of CBS Studios, that she had a “humor deficit.”
A day later, Dushku was fired, despite plans for her to become a series regular.
“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,” she said Tuesday.
CBS settled with Dushku for $9.5 million in January 2018, the network previously confirmed to the Daily News. The settlement included a nondisclosure agreement, but Dushku said she was able to “break my silence” because she had been subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee.
Despite the settlement and Dushku’s allegations, “Bull” was renewed the next season and remains on the air with Weatherly staying on as psychologist Michael Bull.
During the 2019 upfronts, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl defended Weatherly, saying the actor had “owned that mistake.”
“He’s a dad, he’s a father. He was upset by this. He wants to make it better,” Kahl said at the time.
CBS did not immediately return a request for comment from The News Wednesday.