The investigation into the culture at CBS – due to the actions of former CEO Les Moonves – has revealed a show’s secret payoff, prompted by the actions of one primetime actor who got his start as a soap star.
The actor in question is Michael Weatherly of Bull (and formerly of NCIS), who was a shining star on the soaps Loving and The City as Cooper Alden in the early 1990s, where he met and married (and divorced) his co-star, Amelia Heinle (ex-Steffy; now Victoria, The Young and the Restless).
According to the New York Times, the actress, who is at the center of this #MeToo moment, is former Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Eliza Dushku.
“In front of the cast and crew, Mr. Weatherly remarked on her appearance, and made a rape joke and a comment about a threesome.”
Those comments made her feel uncomfortable, which was made even worse when the crew would piggyback onto his comments and continue the harassment. The actress was brought on for a short arc but was told it was going great and she would be made a series regular.
Not wanting to have to deal with this continued behavior, Dushku shared her concerns with writer/producer Glenn Gordon Caron, who suggested she talk with Weatherly.
She mentioned to him what the crew member said and asked why she didn’t report him. She said didn’t feel there was a safe person to report it to.
“After the talk, Mr. Weatherly sent a text to David Stapf, the president of CBS Television Studios, saying that he wanted to talk about Ms. Dushku’s sense of humor. Mr. Stapf replied that Ms. Dushku made the show better, according to the interview notes.”
Within days, Dushku was written off the show. Weatherly has denied any part in this. Caron released a statement saying, “The idea that our not exercising her option to join the series was in any way punitive just couldn’t be further from the truth.”
But the actress still managed to get a huge settlement from the eye network last January, thanks to outtakes that showed the harassment that CBS turned over, thinking they proved their case. And, it did quite the opposite.
The $9.5 million paid to Dushku was the amount she would have made had she been a cast member for four years. Part of the settlement was to not discuss it, but the investigation into Moonves brought this all to light.