The former ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ actress details the sexual harassment she suffered at the hand of her former ‘Bull’ co-star during a congressional committee hearing.
AceShowbiz –Eliza Dushku testified before a congressional committee on Tuesday (16Nov21) as she detailed her sexual harassment claims against former “Bull” co-star Michael Weatherly.
The actress told politicians she was fired from the hit drama after complaining about his behaviour and forced into arbitration, which eventually netted her $9.5 million (£7 million).
Dushku headlined a House Judiciary Committee hearing, titled “Silenced: How Forced Arbitration Keeps Victims of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Shadow”, staged to help lawmakers make a decision on new legislation to eliminate forced arbitration clauses in employment, consumer and civil rights cases.
According to Deadline, she was responding to a congressional subpoena to testify despite the constraints of a non-disclosure agreement she signed as part of her settlement.
Appearing virtually, Eliza told the committee, “I found myself the brunt of crude, sexualised and lewd verbal assaults. I suffered near constant sexual harassment from my co-star. This was beyond anything I had experienced in my 30-year career.”
She explained Weatherly, who she didn’t name, referred to her as “legs” and would smell her, adding, “Off script, in front of about 100 crew members and cast members, he once said that he would take me to his ‘rape’ van and use lube and long phallic things on me and take me over his knee and spank me like a little girl.”
“These were not lines in the script. They were incessant and demeaning and directed at me in the middle of what was supposed to be a professional workplace.”
She also recalled Weatherly suggesting a threesome while she was shooting a courtroom scene, adding he “began mock penis jousting while the camera was still rolling.”
“As I walked off to my coffee break between scenes, a random male crew member sidled up to me at the food service table and whispered, ‘I am with Bull. I want to have a threesome with you too, Eliza.’ “
Dushku explained she confronted Weatherly and asked him to tone down the “sexualized comments,” prompting her co-star to insist, “No one is more respectful of women than me. I grew up with sisters.”
She later discovered Weatherly had texted the boss of CBS Studios and suggested his co-star had a “humour deficit” and allegedly didn’t want her on the show.
The actress revealed she was shocked to discover she was bound by a clause in her contract forbidding her to talk about anything that happened on set.
Weatherly released a statement to The New York Times after Dushku’s settlement was revealed, which read, “During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script. 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.”
A CBS spokesperson and representatives for Weatherly have declined to comment on Dushku’s testimony.
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