Eliza Dushku was once a very popular actor with many TV roles under her belt but that changed when she joined the cast of Bull.
After appearing in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer Dushku went on to be cast in two other Joss Whedon series: Angel and Dollhouse. For many, her most memorable film role was in Bring it On (2000) where she played a cheerleader. She worked consistently until 2017 when her credits stopped altogether. Now Dushku has come forward, shedding light on the details of her situation.
In 2016, Dushku had a recurring role in Season 1 of Bull that was meant to become a regular role, but she alleges that she was fired from the show after accusing star Michael Weatherly of sexual harassment. She received a $9.5 million settlement from CBS, the New York Times reported in 2018. And because of an arbitration clause she had signed, she would never be allowed to talk about it.
She was then shocked to learn of the New York Times article detailing the settlement. Weatherly defended himself by saying that his language was an attempt at humour and he immediately apologised. This does not follow events that Dushku described, and until now, she wasn’t able to make her side of events known.
On Tuesday 16 November, Dushku spoke in front of a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Silenced: How Forced Arbitration Keeps Victims of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Shadow.”
She spoke about the sexual harassment she suffered while working on the CBS television series Bull. At the time, the actress had brought her concerns about the unprofessional workplace to the star and producer of the show Michael Weatherly, who also happened to be the perpetrator.
The actress said in her testimony: “In 2017, I was aggressively pursued by CBS to become a co-lead in a show called ‘Bull.’ I was told that the role would be a six-year commitment to play a smart, strong leading lady — a competent, high-powered lawyer meant to counterbalance the existing male lead, and that the role had been written specifically with me in mind. However, in my first week on my new job, I found myself the brunt of crude, sexualised and lewd verbal assaults. I suffered near constant sexual harassment from my co-star.”
Eliza Dushku relates her experiences for the committee in the video below. The video contains her testimony and is very sensitive as it details her experiences with reported sexual harassment on set.
Since 2017, Eliza Dushku has not had the opportunity to work. This experience has significantly impacted her life. The actress has even noted that many people bound by arbitration will never have the chance to speak out as she has.
Dushku said she is hoping to help end for others the secret arbitration process she felt forced to enter involving her allegations.