Eliza Dushku (Bring It On, Dollhouse) testified to a congressional committee on Tuesday describing the alleged sexual harassment she experienced while working on the CBS show Bull. She claims she was suffering “near-constant sexual harassment” when she appeared on the final three episodes of the show’s first season. Dushku states that it was at the hands of co-star Michael Weatherly (NCIS, Bull), and when she went to complain to CBS executives, she was fired within 24 hours and “forced” into arbitration and into signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
However, when Dushku was called to testify to the House Judiciary Committee, she gained the ability to break her NDA and go into detail about her alleged harassment on the set. The committee held this series of testimonials as lawmakers worked to enact new laws against forced arbitration.
“Countless others who are bound by arbitration are not so fortunate,” said Dushku, appearing virtually during her testimony.
According to Dushku, Weatherly (who she never referred to by name) constantly called her “legs” around the set and would smell her at times while on camera and between takes. Dushku claims that he would take her to his “rape van” and use phallic objects on her and spank her like a “little girl.” He allegedly told her these things and more in front of hundreds of cast and crew.
An instance she recalled vividly in her testimony was when her character was giving a courtroom monologue and that he allegedly shouted at her how he and his friend would like to have a threesome with her. Then after the scene, a random crew member supposedly came up to her and whispered in her ear, “I am with Bull. I want to have a threesome with you too”.
“These were not lines in the script,” she said. “They were incessant and demeaning and directed at me in the middle of what was supposed to be a professional workplace.”
Executives at CBS declined to comment on Dushku’s testimony; however, when the New York Times first broke the news of Dushku’s firing in 2018, CBS did release a statement on the environment there. CBS said Dushku’s allegations were “an example that, while we remain committed to a culture defined by a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace, our work is far from done.” Weatherly also responded to that initial article saying that he was merely “mocking some lines in the script” and that when Dushku expressed her disgust at his alleged humor, he supposedly apologized and was horrified at offending her.
Lawmakers are to decide on this bill to limit the power of forced arbitration in business sometime today, and Dushku is still using her story to support eliminating the power surplus executives have with arbitration.
“I’ve been reduced to being ‘Eliza Dushku, the actress who was paid off for allegedly being sexually harassed on a TV series,” Dushku said. “This was not the outcome I desired or ever expected, but because of binding arbitration, there will never be real justice for me and for countless other victims of sexual harassment and assault.”
Bull continues to air on CBS, with Weatherly still starring in its title role.