What’s the current going amount for being sexually harassed? Well, if you’re Eliza Dushku and was originally supposed to become a full-time cast member of a network show, the answer is a whopping $9.5 MILLION.
A new report from the New York Times has brought to light the fact that CBS indeed paid Eliza that amount after she was written off the Michael Weatherly-starrer Bull following her being vocal about feeling harassed by Michael. Prior to being written off, she was originally slated to become a full-time series regular after her well-received multiple guest stint.
The $9.5M settlement between the actress and CBS was exposed when the network hired a team of investigators to look into any overarching culture issues.
Here’s what happened, in full detail –
- In 2017, Eliza was signed on for a three-episode arc on Bull.
- Writer and producer Glenn Gordon Caron told Eliza that he wanted her to be more than a love interest and had plans of having her become a full-time cast member
- Upon starting her stint on the show, Eliza found that the on-set environment was chock-full of sexual harassment: Rape and sex jokes made by Michael were condoned, and cast and crew would encourage and sometimes join in
- Michael made comments on set that made Eliza uncomfortable – like saying her would bend her over his leg and spank her, and even joking about having a threesome with her
- The latter, because of Michael’s status on the show, opened the door for others to make similar comments. One time, a crew member approached Eliza, said “I’m with Bull” and suggested that he also wanted a threesome with her
- Eliza vocalized her concerns to Glenn. She eventually confronted Michael.
- Afterwards, Michael spoke to CBS about Eliza’s “sense of humor”
- Days later, Eliza was written off the show
In the report, it’s said that Michael claims the comments were from ad-libbing and not meant to be taken seriously. It’s also said that Eliza believed writing her off was retaliation for her speaking up about Michael’s behavior.
Michael and Glenn have denied it.
Eliza went on to enter into mediation with the company. The company’s lawyer presented footage of Eliza on set, hoping that her actions caught on film would build a case that it was her behavior and not Michael’s that led to her removal.
Instead, what the footage showed were instances of the sexual harassment Eliza reported.
In a statement on Wednesday (December 12), CBS confirmed the settlement and vowed to improve the working environment:
“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.”
Michael also released a statement to The Times via email. Read what he had to say here:
“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.”
Eliza declined to comment for The Times article. Speaking to investigators back then about what she went through, the 37-year-old actress stated:
“You’re all I have at this point. My story is true and it’s really affected me, and I can’t talk about it.”
$9.5M is roughly the equivalent of what Eliza would have earned if she had stayed on as a cast member on Bull for four seasons.