Published On: Mon, Dec 17th, 2018

Former co-stars back Bull’s Michael Weatherly amid harassment claims

Pauley Perrette and Sasha Alexander are jumping to the defence of their former NCIS co-star Michael Weatherly after actress Eliza Dushku accused him of sexual harassment.

A New York Times story published Thursday disclosed that CBS secretly paid a $ 9.5-million settlement to Dushku after the actress alleged Weatherly made comments that made her feel “violated” on set of the TV series Bull.

CBS has confirmed the existence of the settlement to USA TODAY.

Two days after the payout became public, Perrette took to Twitter to share a message of support to Weatherly. She played beloved Abby Sciuto on NCIS alongside Weatherly, who starred as Anthony DiNozzo, for the show’s first 13 seasons. Weatherly departed the series in 2016 and went on to star as Dr. Jason Bull on Bull that same year.

“This man … I love, respect, trust, and I KNOW. TWO decades of friendship and respect,” Perrette tweeted Saturday. “The best. I love you @M_Weatherly Always and forever.”

Perrette left NCIS after 15 seasons, making references to “crime” and “multiple physical assaults.” She added that she’s been kept “silent” by a “very rich, very powerful publicity ‘machine.’ ”

Alexander, who portrayed Caitlin Todd during the first two seasons of NCIS before transitioning to a guest star role, also defended Weatherly.

“I have been in trenches w/ my friend ?@M_Weatherly?. Always laughs, true friend & as big as they come,” she tweeted Saturday.

According to the Times, Dushku complained of “disgusting” behaviour that included Weatherly saying he wanted to spank her and have a threesome, both in front of the cast and crew of Bull, which is now in its third season. According to the complaint, Weatherly also called a windowless van “a rape van.” Weatherly told the New York Times that his comments were meant as jokes.

However, Dushku said she was written off the CBS show out of retaliation after three episodes once she confronted Weatherly, the show’s main star, for remarks that made her feel uncomfortable.

The investigation began to examine sexual misconduct allegations against then-CBS chief Les Moonves, who was accused publicly of sexual misconduct in August and resigned under pressure in September. It also focused on the overall culture at the network.

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Former co-stars back Bull’s Michael Weatherly amid harassment claims