For once there is a positive #MeToo story.
News has just been released that, following an investigation into the lengthy sexual harrassment stories circulating around the network CBS, a secret multi-million dollar settlement had also taken place early this year. It becomes yet another major sexual harassment story for the scandal-plagued network.
Actress Eliza Dushku, who had been a guest star on the hit CBS drama “Bull”, was discovered to have settled in mediation with the network for $9.5 million. The New York Times breaks this story that comes as a result of a broader investigation made by outside legal teams.
CBS brought in two law firms to look into the scandal involving deposed CEO Les Moonves. While conducting a broader investigation they came across this deal, settled this past January. Writer Rachel C. Adams helped write the story.
“My story is true and it’s really affected me, and I can’t talk about it," Eliza Dushku told investigators about the harassment she experienced on CBS's "Bull." CBS ultimately paid her $9.5 million in a secret settlement that required her to stay silent. https://t.co/Ib7XdelfRJ
— Rachel C. Abrams (@RachelAbramsNY) December 14, 2018
In March of 2017 Dushku was hired for a guest slot on the show starring Michael Weatherly, formerly of the hit “NCIS”. Originally intended to appear in a three episode story arc the producers indicated their intention of bringing her on the show full time, mapping out a plan going into season 5. That was when Dushku began experiencing on set issues with the star, Weatherly.
Dushku had the nerve to approach the head writers with her concerns. It was agreed that she would confront Weatherly herself, but while he was immediately apologetic, after she learned her character would no longer be included in the show’s storyline. She decided to elevate the issue and take it into mediation with the network. In the meantime the Harvey Weinstein scandal erupted.
Eliza— you deserve so much better. I’m so sorry. And, Mr. Weatherly might want to consider that his jokes aren’t funny, and might be well served just sticking to the script. https://t.co/H1NHYLg9PI
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) December 14, 2018
Once the mediation was taking place the #MeToo movement had become a major factor. By January Dushku had momentum behind her, but the network was going to defend itself from the claims.
The network lawyers went so far as to obtain some video outtake footage from the production. The idea was that these would reveal the actress as being belligerent and frequently using profanity. However they had not anticipated the amount of evidence contain on those tapes. The investigating lawyers described these outtakes as a “goldmine” for the Dushku team.
Wow, who knew he needed to be slapped in the head *more*? pic.twitter.com/8Oo4cLMrXQ
— John Webber (@hellojohnwebber) December 14, 2018
The videos actually contained many of the instances of sexual harassment and as a result CBS found itself in a defenseless position. Not only did this prove her charges, but their obliviousness to the harassing content exposed an atmosphere of acceptance within the network.
As a result the parties agreed on a settlement, based on what Ms. Dushku would have earned had she become a cast regular for the duration originally projected. There was a non-disclosure agreement attached to payment.
However later this year Les Moonves joined other CBS notables — journalist Charlie Rose, and a longtime producer at “60 Minutes” — as major names with sexual harassment problems chasing them from their vaunted positions. This resulted in the network calling in the legal investigators, who turned up Dushku’s settlement story.
— Juanita 🇺🇸 🌊 (@BethesdaJuanita) December 14, 2018
As a result of the external investigation that allowed for her story to be told Dushku expressed relief. “You’re all I have at this point,” she told them. “My story is true and it’s really affected me, and I can’t talk about it.”