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CBS Boss Defends Bull Renewal: Michael Weatherly 'Made a Mistake'

Weatherly was accused of sexual harassment by series guest star Eliza Dushku

Amanda Bell

CBS is defending the network's decision to renew Bull for a fourth season despite accusations against lead actor Michael Weatherly, who was accused of sexual harassment by recurring guest star Eliza Dushku.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl addressed the decision to renew Bull. "Michael made a mistake in his comments [to Dushku]," Kahl said, according to Variety. "He owned that mistake. He was apologetic at the time, and he was remorseful. He was willing to take any kind of coaching or training we deem necessary for him to create a positive environment on the set. When we looked at the totality of the situation, we felt comfortable bringing Bull back on the air."

Following Bull's renewal, Steven Spielberg's company Amblin Television immediately cut ties with the series.

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The accusations against Weatherly were first revealed in late 2018, when an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against former CBS CEO Les Moonves revealed a $9.5 million settlement between CBS and Dushku, who claimed she was fired from the series after confronting Weatherly about his behavior on set. Dushku herself later spoke out about the situation, revealing that the alleged incidents of harassment were documented on tape during her time on Bull, including a moment when Weatherly invited her to what she called his "rape van, filled with all sorts of lubricants and long phallic things" and mocked his prior training over sexual harassment by shouting "yellow card."

"The narrative propagated by CBS, actor Michael Weatherly, and writer-producer Glenn Gordon Caron is deceptive and in no way fits with how they treated me on the set of the television show Bull and retaliated against me for simply asking to do my job without relentless sexual harassment," Dushku wrote. "This is not a 'he-said/she-said' case. Weatherly's behavior was captured on CBS's own videotape recordings."

Weatherly responded to her claims in a statement to The New York Times, saying, "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."

While defending CBS' decision to renew Bull despite the scandal, Kahl insisted that Weatherly "took everything very seriously and wants to move forward. He's a dad, he's a father. He was upset by this. He wants to make it better."

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)