Steven Spielberg cuts ties with ‘Bull’ months after news of Eliza Dushku’s sexual harassment settlement

CBS paid actress Dushku $9.5 million to settle her claim that she was sexually harassed by the show’s star, Michael Weatherly.

'Bull,' Eliza Dushku
Michael Weatherly and Eliza Dushku in a scene from "Bull." –Barbara Nitke/CBS

Steven Spielberg’s production company is cutting ties with the CBS prime-time show “Bull,” six months after it was reported that an actress on the show was paid millions to settle her sexual harassment claim against its lead actor.

“We can confirm that we are no longer associated with the show,” a spokeswoman for Spielberg’s company, Amblin Television, said Thursday.

In December, The New York Times revealed that CBS paid actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 million to settle her claim that she was sexually harassed by the show’s star, Michael Weatherly.

At the time, CBS said in a statement that Dushku’s allegations were evidence that the network’s attempts to create “a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace” were “far from done.”

Advertisement

Amblin severed its ties to the show on the day the network announced that it had renewed “Bull” for a fourth season. Spielberg’s company had previously been one of the program’s producers, along with CBS Studios.

Dushku was Weatherly’s co-star in a run of episodes during the show’s first season. She said Weatherly’s inappropriate remarks included comments on her appearance, references to a threesome and a rape joke. Dushku also said that, shortly after she confronted Weatherly about his behavior, she was written off the show, despite plans to make her a series regular.

Dushku’s allegations were included in a draft report prepared by two law firms that examined CBS’ workplace culture last year. The firms were hired after the CBS Corp.’s chief executive, Leslie Moonves, was accused of sexual misconduct. Moonves was fired by CBS in September 2018, after a dozen accusers described their claims to The New Yorker.

In a statement to The Times last year, Weatherly said that he made jokes to Dushku “mocking some lines in the script” and that he was “mortified to have offended her.” He denied that he had anything to do with her being written off the show.

Advertisement

Dushku said she had told Leslee Feldman, an executive at Amblin, about her experience with Weatherly.

“If Steven ever knew about this, he would be so horrified,” Feldman said, according to what Dushku told the law firms.

Dushku went into a mediation process with CBS and was paid $9.5 million in 2018. The network said the figure matched what she would have “received for the balance of her contract as a series regular.”

During the mediation process, a CBS lawyer produced video that he thought would discredit Dushku, because it showed her cursing on the set, according to a draft report prepared by the outside law firms.

Instead of having its intended effect, the law firms wrote, the footage supported Dushku’s claims, because it “actually captured some of the harassment on film.”

As part of her settlement agreement, Dushku was allowed to discuss the situation with Spielberg. In an interview with Deadline in March, Dushku said she met with Spielberg and people affiliated with the Time’s Up organization to discuss “possible solutions for this systemic imbalance of power” in the entertainment industry.

Deadline first reported the news of Spielberg’s departure. CBS declined to comment on Amblin’s decision.

When asked if Amblin would refuse any future remuneration resulting from back-end deals, in addition to removing its name from the show, a spokeswoman for Spielberg’s company declined to comment.

Close

Get the latest breaking news sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.
Animals
Grumpy Cat has died
May 17, 2019 | 8:25 AM