Pauley Perrette, Sasha Alexander Defend Michael Weatherly After Sexual Harassment Claim Surfaces
Weatherly's former 'NCIS' co-stars tweeted messages of support for the actor following reports of Eliza Dushku's accusation of him on the set of CBS' 'Bull.'
Two days after CBS' $9.5 million settlement with actress Eliza Dushku became public, Pauley Perrette and Sasha Alexander are defending Michael Weatherly, their former NCIS co-star and the individual Dushku accused of sexual harassment.
"This man... I love, respect, trust, and I KNOW. TWO decades of friendship and respect. The best. I love you @M_Weatherly Always and forever," Perrette tweeted Saturday alongside a picture of herself with Weatherly. Perrette played Abby Sciuto from 2003 to 2018 on NCIS opposite Weatherly, who starred as Anthony DiNozzo on the CBS series from 2003 to 2016.
Not long after, actress Sasha Alexander tweeted her own photo and message of support for Weatherly. "I have been in trenches w/ my friend @M_Weatherly. Always laughs, true friend & [heart emoji] as big as they come," she wrote. Alexander starred as Caitlin Todd from 2003 to 2005 on the CBS series and appeared as a guest star in 2012.
The accusations against Weatherly first came to light Thursday in a New York Times story, which reported that Dushku was paid $9.5 million in a secret settlement after she starred in three episodes of the actor's latest show for CBS, Bull. The Times' information came from an investigation by the law firms of Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton that was commissioned following the ouster of former CEO Les Moonves, who was himself accused of sexual harassment, as well as assault.
According to the draft summary of the investigation obtained by the Times, Dushku accused Weatherly of calling her "legs" on set, joking that he would spank her and jokingly asking her if she wanted to have a "threesome" and enter his "rape van." Dushku's character on Bull, a love interest for Weatherly's, was initially intended to have a longer run than three episodes; Dushku claimed that after she came forward with her accusations against Weatherly to CBS, her role was terminated.
In a statement to the Times, Weatherly apologized for his alleged conduct, saying, "During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script. 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."
Earlier this year, Dushku opened up about being "sexually molested" as a 12-year-old actress on the set of the 1994 thriller True Lies. In a Facebook post she accused veteran stunt coordinator Joel Kramer of luring her to his hotel room and sexually assaulting her.
For her part, Perrette has been vocal about her own experiences in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement: In 2017, the actress tweeted that she had been raped in high school; in May, she claimed that she left NCIS the year before over "multiple physical assaults" and alleged that a "machine" kept her silent.
"There is a "machine' keeping me silent, and feeding FALSE stories about me. A very rich, very powerful publicity 'machine'. No morals, no obligation to truth, and I'm just left here, reading the lies, trying to protect my crew. Trying to remain calm. He did it," Perrette wrote. She has not revealed the name of the alleged assaulter.
In a statement about Perrette's claims, CBS said in May, "Pauley Perrette had a terrific run on NCIS and we are all going to miss her. Over a year ago, Pauley came to us with a workplace concern. We took the matter seriously and worked with her to find a resolution. We are committed to a safe work environment on all our shows."
Since obtaining a draft of the investigation report, the Times has also reported that investigators found that CBS news program 60 Minutes' workplace culture "permitted misconduct" and that Moonves harassed more women than was previously known.
On Friday, CBS revealed that it was donating the $20 million previously dedicated to Moonves' exit package to 18 women's advocacy organizations.
See the actresses' tweets, below.