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CBS Defends Decision to Renew ‘Bull’ Following Michael Weatherly Misconduct Allegations

Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull on BullPhil Caruso/CBS

CBS is standing by their stars. Many were shocked when the network announced they would be bringing back Bull for a fourth season in the fall, following allegations made against its star, Michael Weatherly. In December 2018, it was revealed that the network paid Eliza Dushku, who briefly appeared on the series, a $9.5 million settlement following a claim she was written off the drama after approaching Weatherly about his inappropriate behavior.

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After the renewal news, producers Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey exited the series, but on Wednesday, May 15, CBS stood behind their decision to keep the show on the air.

“Michael made a mistake in his comments [to Dushku]. He owned that mistake. He was apologetic at the time, and he was remorseful,” CBS’ entertainment chief Kelly Kahl told press during the CBS Upfronts press call. “He was willing to take any kind of coaching or training we deem necessary for him to create a positive environment on the set.”

Eliza Dushku as J.P. Nunnelly and Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull on Bull Barbara Nitke/CBS

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She noted that the actor, 50, “took everything very seriously and wants to move forward.” Kahl also stressed that Weatherly “wants to make it better.”

After the settlement news was revealed, the former NCIS star released an apology toward the Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress. “During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script,” he told the New York Times at the time. “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.”

The actress later penned an essay for The Boston Globe, detailing his alleged harassment and claiming that Weatherly told her she didn’t have the sense of humor to get his inappropriate jokes.

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“That’s how a perpetrator rationalizes when he is caught. For the record, I grew up in Boston with three older brothers and have generally been considered a tomboy. I made a name for myself playing a badass vampire slayer turned tough L.A. cheerleader; I have worked with numerous leading men, including Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, even CBS’s own David Boreanaz,” she wrote in the piece published on December 19. “I can handle a locker room. I have been on Howard Stern and was hired by Kevin Smith for a film where I wore a black leather cat suit and played a member of an international diamond-thief-gang-ring. I do not want to hear that I have a ‘humor deficit’ or can’t take a joke. I did not over-react. I took a job and, because I did not want to be harassed, I was fired.”

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