There's a reason you haven't seen Eliza Dushku's well-received J.P. Nunnelly in Bull's third season. The actress was written off the CBS drama after accusing star Michael Weatherly of sexual harassment, according to a new report from the The New York Times.
An investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against former CBS CEO Les Moonves revealed a $9.5 million settlement between CBS and the Bring It On star, who said that she was ousted from the series after confronting Weatherly about his inappropriate behavior. The alleged harassment included comments about spanking Dushku over his knee, inquiring about a threesome and offering an unsolicited invitation to his "rape van." Dushku was paid a total of $9.5 million, the amount she would have made had she remained with the procedural as a series regular through four seasons.
There had been "well-developed plans" for Dushku to become a full-time cast member and more than just a potential love interest for Weatherly's lead character, Dr. Jason Bull, according to the CBS investigation.
In a statement to the Times, Weatherly admitted to making the inappropriate comments and apologized for his behavior toward Dushku.
"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," his statement read.
The actor also described the "rape van" line as an attempted joke about a line of dialogue for the show. "The scripted line in that scene was, 'Hey, young lady, step into my windowless van.' I didn't particularly like that line, so I joked, in order to highlight how distasteful the emphasis of the line was, about an 'r. van,' a rape van," he said.
In a statement to the Times, CBS confirmed the settlement and said it is committed to providing a safer work environment for its employees.
"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."
Calls to both Dushku's and Weatherly's attorneys were not returned. CBS did not return TV Guide's request for comment.
Read the full story in The New York Times.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)