TV network bosses have defended their decision to renew Michael Weatherly's legal drama Bull for a fourth season despite facing allegations of sexual harassment from former co-star Eliza Dushku.
The actor hit headlines in December (18) after Dushku accused him of making inappropriate comments about her appearance, suggesting a threesome with another co-star, and making a rape joke in front of other cast and crew members after she joined the show as a guest star in 2017.
She received a $9.5 million (£7.3 million) payout after raising her complaints with network chiefs at CBS, and after the news was made public, Weatherly apologised for comments he had made, acknowledging that they were "not funny and not appropriate".
Last week (ends10May19), CBS executives decided to greenlight Bull for another season, although their decision to stand by Weatherly appeared to cost them their partnership with Steven Spielberg and officials at his Amblin Television company, who walked away as the show's producers.
Now CBS Entertainment boss Kelly Kahl has addressed the controversy, explaining they are continuing to support Weatherly because he didn't try to make excuses for his behaviour.
"He owned that mistake," Kahl said during the network's upfront presentation on Wednesday (14May19). "He was apologetic at the time."
Kahl also highlighted the actor's history with the network, having previously starred on crime drama NCIS from 2003 to 2016, as another factor in their renewal, and added, "We are perfectly comfortable producing the show."
Spielberg, a big supporter of the Time's Up movement against sexual misconduct, had served as an executive producer on Bull, alongside Amblin Television's Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, for Bull's first three seasons.