Eliza Dushku appeared before a House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to testify about the “near-constant” sexual harassment she allegedly endured on the set of CBS’ “Bull.”
The 40-year-old actress said in the virtual committee hearing, titled “Silenced: How Forced Arbitration Keeps Victims of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Shadow,” that she “appreciated” the opportunity to speak out about this important issue as “someone who was fired and silenced when I attempted to address it.”
She began by sharing that in 2017, she was “aggressively pursued” by CBS for a six-year commitment to play “a competent, high-powered lawyer meant to counter balance the existing male lead,” which was played by Michael Weatherly.
“However, in my first week on my new job I found myself the brunt of crude, sexualized and lewd verbal assaults,” Dushku alleged. “I suffered near-constant sexual harassment from my co-star.”
She added, “This was beyond anything I had experienced in my 30-year career.”
Dushku, who did not name Weatherly, went on to detail some of the harassment she allegedly faced.
She claimed at the hearing that her co-star frequently referred to her as “legs” and 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,” Dushku claimed, adding that he also told her that “his sperm were powerful swimmers.”
“These were not lines in the script,” the “Bring It On” star clarified. “They were incessant and demeaning and directed at me in the middle of what was supposed to be a professional workplace.”
Dushku claimed that her co-star’s lewd antics also consisted of him stating that he wanted a threesome and “mock penis jousting while the camera was still rolling.”
“Then, as I walked off to my coffee break between scenes, a random male crew member sidled up to me at the food service table and whispered, ‘I am with “Bull.” I want to have a threesome with you too, Eliza,’” she further alleged.
Dusku also claims she specifically asked her co-star to be her “ally on set” and “tone down some of the sexualized comments directed at me, especially since he set the tone at the workplace.”
She claims he told her, “No one is more respectful of women than me. I grew up with sisters.”
Page Six has reached out to Weatherly and CBS, but did not hear back in time for publication.
The network has stood in support of the actor in the past, however.
CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said in August 2019 that Weatherly and the drama’s executive producer, Glenn Gordon Caron, were receiving “leadership coaching.”
The actor is taking responsibility “as the head of a show to make the set a positive place to work,” Kahl said.
CBS also previously said in a statement, “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.”
Meanwhile, Weatherly apologized in a statement of his own to the New York Times in 2018, but maintained he did not get Dushku — who received a $9.5 million settlement from the network — fired from the show.
“During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” he said.
“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 … I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza.”
Tuesday’s hearing was held as lawmakers review new legislation that would eliminate forced arbitration clauses in employment, consumer and civil rights cases. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday.
Weatherly still stars in the CBS series, which is currently airing its sixth season.
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