Steven Spielberg cuts ties with CBS show Bull over actress' sexual-harassment complaint

Director Steven Spielberg speaking at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, on March 25, 2019.
Director Steven Spielberg speaking at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, on March 25, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (NYTimes) - Steven Spielberg's production company is cutting ties with CBS prime-time show Bull, six months after it was reported that an actress on the show was paid millions to settle her sexual harassment claim against its lead actor.

"We can confirm that we are no longer associated with the show," a spokesman for Spielberg's company, Amblin Television, said on Thursday (May 9).

In December, The New York Times revealed that CBS paid Eliza Dushku US$9.5 million (S$12.9 million) to settle her claim that she was sexually harassed by Michael Weatherly.

Amblin severed its ties on the day the network announced that it had renewed Bull for a fourth season. Spielberg's company was previously one of the producers, along with CBS Studios.

Dushku was Weatherly's co-star in a run of episodes during the first season.

She said his inappropriate remarks included comments on her appearance, references to a threesome and a rape joke.

Dushku also said that, shortly after she confronted Weatherly about his behaviour, she was written off the show, despite plans to make her a series regular.

In a statement to The Times last year, Weatherly said he made jokes to Dushku "mocking some lines in the script" and that he was "mortified to have offended her".

He denied that he had anything to do with her being written off the show.

Dushku went into a mediation process with CBS and was paid US$9.5 million in 2018.

The network said the figure matched what she would have "received for the balance of her contract as a series regular".

In an interview with Deadline in March, Dushku said she met Spielberg and people affiliated with the Time's Up organisation to discuss "possible solutions for this systemic imbalance of power" in the entertainment industry.