Eliza Dushku: How Sexual Harassment Allegations May Have Ended Her Career

By Rick Gonzales

Eliza Dushku

Eliza Dushku made a name for herself in Hollywood both on the TV Series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel. But Dushku has many more projects under her belt and has had quite a successful career. So, why haven’t we seen her in the past few years?

EARLY ELIZA DUSHKU

Child Star

Eliza Dushku began her acting career as a pre-teen, grabbing her first acting gig in That Night at the age of twelve. She followed that up with starring turns in This Boy’s Life alongside heavy-hitters Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ellen Barkin. She moved on to True Lies as the daughter of megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger and then to Bye Bye Love with Matthew Modine, Randy Quaid, and Paul Reiser.

Her first three years in Hollywood were busy and star-filled and if it looked like Dushku was building herself a formidable résumé, she was.

However, in 2018 Eliza Dushku alleged that True Lies stunt coordinator Joel Kramer sexually molested her on the set of the 1994 film. She further alleged that then 36-year-old Kramer caused her to be injured on the movie as payback for her telling someone what he’d done to her. Kramer denies all of those allegations.

BUFFY AND ANGEL

Eliza Dushku

Dushku made the leap from the big screen to small in 1998 when she landed the role of Faith on the hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She soon became a recurring character through the remainder of the series’ seven-year run. Dushku was able to parlay her role as Faith into another recurring role as the same character in Buffy’s spin-off series Angel.

Dollhouse
Eliza Dushku on Dollhouse

Later Eliza Dushku would go on to land the lead role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon’s new show, Dollhouse. The series didn’t last long on quick-to-cancel Fox, but it established her as capable of carrying a series.

HOW HORRIFYING!

Eliza Dushku

Dushku’s turn on both Buffy and Angel opened up the horror genre to her and she took advantage of that as she took starring roles in the horror films Sole Survivors and Wrong Turn. Both were modest hits but did nothing to tarnish her star.

In fact, it looked like Dushku was prepping to become a Scream Queen as she jumped into another TV Series, Tru Calling, this time playing a university grad who finds herself working in a city morgue. As the series star Tru, she has the ability to repeat the same day in order to prevent murders or any other disasters that may need preventing.

AN ECLECTIC CAREER

On The League
Eliza Dushku on The League

Fortunately for Dushku, her career wasn’t pigeon-holed in horror. She found herself guest-starring on my sitcoms that included That 70’s Show, Ugly Betty, Big Bang Theory, and The League. Dushku has also worked as a voice actor, lending her voice to the shows Robotomy, The Cleveland Show, and The Ultimate Spider-Man.

She has also been a part of many video games. Yakuza, Saints Row 2, and Fight Night Champion are among those she’s worked on. It’s easy to see why the multi-talented Dushku continued to get work in Hollywood, she could adapt to any part given to her. And then came Bull, which turned into a load of crap.

HOW SEXUAL HARASSMENT MAY HAVE ENDED HER CAREER

Eliza Dushku on Bull

Dushku was courted for the TV show Bull by CBS and it was presented to her as her being the co-lead with series star Michael Weatherly. They were looking at it as a Moonlighting-type series and in fact had Moonlighting series creator Glenn Gordon Caron on board as the showrunner. But for all of Dushku’s past experiences on TV shows and movie sets, she never had experienced what she was about to go through on the set of Bull. There were allegations of sexual harassment by both Weatherly and Caron. And because she refused to continue to take the eventually proven harassment, she was fired from the show.

Dushku reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement with CBS and believed since it was deemed “confidential”, she was not allowed to speak of the case. That changed when those involved with the lawsuit made comments in an article published in the New York Times. Dushku then decided it was time to open up so she could refute the “deflection, denial and spin” by those in the article.

She wrote an opinion piece for the Boston Globe and in her own words said, “I feel compelled to chronicle what actually happened after The New York Times published a story about how CBS handled my allegations. I declined to be interviewed for that piece because I wanted to honor the terms of my settlement with the network. I was under the impression that Weatherly and Caron would also not respond per our settlement. Instead, both commented to the Times in what amounted to more deflection, denial, and spin.”

Allegations
Eliza Dushku on the series Bull

Dushku also wanted to set the record straight about her ability to handle jokes on a set. She felt she needed to respond as it was Weatherly who stated Dushku didn’t understand his sense of humor.  “Weatherly, who plays Dr. Bull, claimed I didn’t get his attempt at humor. That’s how a perpetrator rationalizes when he is caught. For the record, I grew up in Boston with three older brothers and have generally been considered a tomboy. I made a name for myself playing a badass vampire slayer turned tough LA cheerleader; I have worked with numerous leading men, including Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, even CBS’s own David Boreanaz. I can handle a locker room. I have been on Howard Stern and was hired by Kevin Smith for a film where I wore a black leather catsuit and played a member of an international diamond-thief-gang-ring. I do not want to hear that I have a “humor deficit” or can’t take a joke. I did not overreact. I took a job and because I did not want to be harassed, I was fired.”

Since that time (the lawsuit ended in 2017), Dushku has not worked. She has not been in a movie, a TV series as a guest star and she hasn’t done any voice acting. Is it possible she has been blackballed in Hollywood? As we have seen with a few other actors, this could be the case. It would be a shame if so, Dushku has proven over the years that she is a wonderful actress and it would be a loss if she doesn’t find herself in front of the camera again.

Eliza Dushku Now

Now 39-years-old, Eliza Dushku as been married to her husband  Peter Palandjian since 2018. In 2019 she became a first-time mother when she gave birth to their son Philip.

In addition to handling the busy job of being a new mom, Eliza serves on the board of directors for The Trauma Healing and Reflection Center. The organization helps survivors of war in Uganda.

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Momming. Hi ?

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