CBS agreed to secretly pay actor Eliza Dushku $9.5 million after she claimed her character was written off the TV series Bull because she accused the show's star of sexually harassing her on set, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Michael Weatherly, who plays the titular role of Jason Bull, allegedly made comments about Dushku's appearance, joked that he wanted to take her to his "rape van," and suggested that she take part in a threesome with him and another cast member, according to the Times.
Dushku said that, shortly after she confronted Weatherly about the remarks, she was written off the show.
The Times reported that the confidential settlement came to light during an investigation by outside law firms into allegations that former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves sexually harassed at least six women. According to the Times, the law firms had been directed to also investigate "cultural issues at all levels of CBS."
In a draft of the investigation report reviewed by the Times, the lawyers said CBS's handling of Dushku's complaints was misguided and emblematic of the network's tendency to protect itself at the expense of victims.
CBS confirmed the settlement in a statement to BuzzFeed News, saying Dushku's claims showed the network needs to do more to improve working conditions.
"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 statement said. "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."
A spokesperson for CBS declined to comment further.
Representatives for Dushku and Weatherly did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' requests for comment.
Dushku declined to be interviewed for the Times story. But in a statement to the newspaper, Weatherly apologized for his behavior.
"During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” Weatherly 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. After reflecting on this further, I better understand that what I said was both not funny and not appropriate and I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza."
Dushku played J.P. Nunnelly, a criminal defense lawyer, in three episodes of Bull's first season. She became a voice in the #MeToo movement when she alleged earlier this year that she was sexually assaulted as a 12-year-old girl by a leading Hollywood stuntman while filming the action movie True Lies in 1993.