Actress Eliza Dushku went before the House Judiciary Committee last month during a hearing entitled “Silenced: How Forced Arbitration Keeps Victims of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Shadows.” This marked the first time that she was able to speak freely about her own experiences during her time on the CBS show Bull in 2017. Dushku went on to detail the unyielding harassment she experienced at the hands of Bull star Michael Weather –which was evidently enabled by showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron– as well as members of the show’s crew, after she was cast as a series regular during the production of the series’ first season.
During her testimony, Dushku spoke about several incidences on set, some of which were actually caught on camera. She recalled, Weatherly “shouted out that he and his buddy wanted to have a threesome with me and began mock penis jousting while the camera was still rolling. Then, 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’m with Bull. I want to have a threesome with you, too, Eliza.”
Dushku approached Weatherly privately the next day, asking him to tone down the sexual comments, and was then fired from the series, despite receiving positive feedback from CBS up until that point. Her contract had the potential to be optioned for six seasons, however she ultimately ended up appearing in just three episodes of Bull, which is now in its sixth season.
As Dushku looked in to taking legal action against CBS, she was disheartened to learn that her contract had an arbitration clause, often referred to as “mandatory arbitration clause” or “forced arbitration clause,” a typically overlooked provision that commonly appears in employment contracts across various industries. Essentially, it preemptively removes an employees right to sue in open court in the event that they suffer harassment, assault, or discrimination in the workplace as a condition of employment. Instead, the allegations and complaints must be arbitrated behind closed doors in confidential proceedings in which the employer chooses the arbitrator often using the same one regularly. Obviously, this clause was created in favor of the perpetrator, stacking the odds of a fair outcome against the accuser.
In an interview with Harper’s BAZAAR, Dushku discusses the lengths she had to go through just in order for her voice to be heard. You can read the interview in it’s entirety here.
Dushku is known best for playing kick-ass roles on television and films. She played Faith on the hit 90s television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel for several seasons, eventually landing star roles in teen films such as Bring It On and Wrong Turn. She returned to the world of television a couple of times, headlining such shows as Tru Calling and Dollhouse. However, in recent years, Dushku has moved away from the Hollywood glitz and glamour, choosing now to focus on her family and being a mother to her two children.