Eliza Dushku fires back: "I did not overreact"

By Kate Smith

/ CBS News

CBS paid Eliza Dushku $9.5 million settlement

Eliza Dushku wants to set the record straight. Her settlement with CBS has nothing to do with her inability to "take a joke" and everything to do with harassment.

Dushku, who received a $9.5 million settlement from CBS earlier this year, penned an Op-Ed in The Boston Globe on Wednesday detailing alleged harassment from Michael Weatherly, the lead actor on "Bull."

The settlement and harassment were reported by the New York Times last week. In the article, Weatherly defended his comments to Dushku, apologizing, though characterizing the comments as jokes.

"I do not want to hear that I have a 'humor deficit' or can't take a joke," Dushku wrote. "I did not over-react. I took a job and, because I did not want to be harassed, I was fired."

Dushku said she was written off "Bull" after she confronted Weatherly about his behavior on-set, which included rape jokes, lewd comments and frequent remarks about her looks. Less than an hour after the meeting with him, Dushku wrote, Weatherly contacted CBS Television President David Stapf requesting Dushku be written off of the show, claiming that the actress had a "humor deficit." Within 48 hours, Dushku was fired while filming on set.

"Retaliation is illegal, not to mention unfair and painful," Dushku wrote.

Emails to CBS and a representative for Weatherly were not immediately returned.

After Dushku addressed Weatherly's behavior, he "doubled down and ratcheted up his retaliation," she wrote. "Following our conversation and up until the season wrapped weeks later, he barely spoke to me, making it clear he was icing me out. He made every remaining day on the set somehow more awkward and oppressive."

After the show wrapped, Dushku fought against the firing, which ultimately resulted in her $9.5 million settlement. She remembered that even the settlement process itself was rife with "boy's cub" attitudes. During the meetings, "CBS used as defense a photo of me in a bathing suit, pulled from my own Instagram, as if this suggested I deserved or was not offended by the sexual harassment I experienced," Dushku wrote.

As part of the settlement, CBS also agreed to set up a meeting with Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin Television coproduces "Bull." That meeting has not yet happened.

"I have not yet had my meeting with Spielberg, but I cannot help but wonder where the legendary Hollywood director was throughout all of this." Dushku wrote.

First published on December 19, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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