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CBS Paid Actress Eliza Dushku $9.5M Over Sexual-Harassment Claim

CBS agreed to a confidential $9.5 million settlement in 2017 to actress Eliza Dushku after she allegedly experienced verbal harassment on the set of CBS prime-time drama Bull and was retaliated against for reporting it, The New York Times reports. According to a draft report written up by lawyers hired by CBS to examine “cultural issues at all levels of CBS,” Dushku was allegedly subjected to uncomfortable sexual jokes from co-star Michael Weatherly—including a joke about a threesome and a rape joke made on-set. Dushku reportedly confronted Weatherly about the remarks after consulting with a producer, but her co-star wrote off his remarks as “ad-libbing” lines or light-hearted jokes. After the meeting, Weatherly reportedly texted the president of CBS Television Studios David Stapf and said he wanted to talk about “Dushku’s sense of humor.” Within days of the confrontation, it was announced that she would be written off the show—despite “plans to make [Dushku] a full-time cast member,” according to the report.

“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 said in a statement to the Times, adding that her settlement totaled the projected amount she would have received had she stayed on the show. Weatherly maintained he was joking in his own statement to the newspaper, but said he “immediately apologized” to Dushku when confronted and understood his jokes were “not funny and not appropriate.” Dushku declined to comment to the Times.