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Time Magazine has a new interview with Eliza Dushku, who last made headlines when the news came out that she was paid $9.5 million after being fired from Bull for exposing Michael Weatherly’s harassment on set. The news came out as part of a wider expose on CBS and the abuses and horrible reign of CBS head Les Moonves, who jettisoned so many women’s careers and projects. Dushku later wrote an oped detailing Weatherly’s abuse on set and how he bullied and demeaned her, making her dread coming to work.
Eliza signed an NDA with CBS and does not go into specifics in this Time interview, but she does talk about what it’s like to be gagged that way, and how it protects abusers. The third season of Bull is still running after this came out in December, Weatherly has not lost his job and it’s thought that Bull will get a fourth season. (There’s no official word yet.) In contrast Dushku is practically sequestered in Boston, she’s pregnant with her first child, is living very close to where she grew up and is attending Lesley University. She said that this is her choice though and that she’s always wanted to go to college.
She chose to move back to Boston
She wants to make clear that she has not been exiled in Hollywood. She lost a parent in her hometown of Boston four years ago, and moved back after spending 18 years in L.A. She had always wanted to get her college degree, specifically in her hometown, because her mom taught at Suffolk University for 47 years.
She’s back in school. She’s living just blocks from where she grew up, where her family still lives, where she plans to raise the baby she will soon have with her new husband. She’s always loved it here and even named her production company Boston Diva back when she was 17. Under that banner she produced the movie Mapplethorpe, based on the life of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, out now. “I need the distance to recalibrate and start a family,” she says. “But I don’t want people to think coming forward means ending your career. I could be acting. I could be in L.A. I just need to be here right now.”
On not being able to talk specifics
“We’re talking in code. NDAs re-victimize people. They give more power to the powerful. And as the less powerful person, you have to live in someone else’s f-cked-up version of reality.
“Humans need a cohesive narrative for who they are,” she says. “And we’re as sick as our secrets. So naming our secrets — that’s a part of healing.”
How many women quietly stopped acting or quit careers in every field imaginable, after enduring situations like this and worse? How must it feel to see the person who made your life hell succeeding in that career you had to leave? I’m glad Eliza is doing well and that she’s pursuing her dreams. Her whole life trajectory would have been different, so many of ours would, if she had been given equitable working conditions. The system protects and elevates abusers.
Eliza produced the biopic Mapplethrope, starring Matt Smith as famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, which is out now. Audiences like it much better than critics do.
Photos credit: Getty