CBS has faced some serious criticism for its decision to keep Bull on the air despite Eliza Dushku’s sexual harassment allegations against star Michael Weatherly. Network executives are defending their decision, saying that Weatherly is “remorseful and apologetic,” but the Time’s Up organization believes they know the real reason behind the controversial decision.
‘It’s a very popular show‘
Kelly Kahl, the head of CBS Entertainment, faced the criticism head-on during the recent Television Critics Association press tour, and he says that the former NCIS star’s harassment of Dushku was an isolated incident for which he has apologized.
According to Variety,the network settled with Dushku, and even though Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV –who was producing Bull – decided toend their relationship with the show after Dushku made her allegations, Kahlsays that people are still watching and the audience loves Weatherly.
“I can’t speak for Amblin, but to us, it’s ashow that does very well,” said Kahl. “It’s a very popular show. More than 10million people watch every week. Michael is loved by our audience, and evenafter these allegations came out, people continued to watch. It’s a popularshow we want to keep on our air, and it’s a very good show as well.”
Time’sUp tweeted their own theory
After Varietypublished Kahl’s comments, the Time’s Up Organization – which insists onsafe, fair, and dignified work for women of all kinds – tweeted the article andadded the comment, “@CBS putting profits ahead of accountability for harassmentand retaliation. Sound familiar?”
An unhappy fan tweeted her thoughts on CBS’sexplanation for keeping Bull on theair, writing, “These are horrible – and inexcusable – euphemisms.”
CBS executives say that everyone at the network now undergoes leadership and unconscious bias training to provide a better work environment, and the network immediately investigates any claim that something is “askew” on one of their shows.
CBSLeadership is also taking courses
Kahl also revealed that the leadership at CBShave taken the same courses as everyone else at the network, but he can’tguarantee that everyone has taken every single course. However, Kahl says theyhave offered the training to everyone and encouraged people to take the coursesbecause there is a lot to learn, and it’s good for everyone to be exposed tonew ways of doing things.
Weatherly and Bull showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron also went through leadership trainingand coaching after Dushku made her allegation in a 2,300-word article she wrotefor the Boston Globe.
Dushku slammed Weatherly, Caron, and CBS inher article, and she eventually received a $9.5 million settlement, which isthe amount she would have been paid had she stayed on the show as a seriesregular for six seasons.
Dushku’s article was a response to Weatherlyand Caron talking about workplace harassment in a New York Times story.
The set of ‘Bull’ is now a positive work environment
Kahl told the press that Caron and Weatherlyare taking responsibility, and as the head of the show, Caron is making the seta positive place to work. Now that everyone in the cast and crew has undergonetraining, Kahl says things are fine and he just visited the set last week.
Caron and Weatherly’s leadership training wasabout setting a positive example for everyone in the workplace, and Kahl saysthat both Caron and Weatherly take it seriously, and they want to be strong,good, and fair leaders.
When reporters asked if CBS required Caron andWeatherly to undergo training, Kahl simply said that everyone agreed to it.And, when the question came up about what the decision to keep Bull says to other showrunners, Kahlsaid, “The expectation of our showrunners is very clear. They will run awelcoming set for everyone on it from top to bottom.”
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