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Steven Spielberg cuts ties with CBS show over sexual-harassment complaint

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Steven Spielberg's production company is cutting ties with CBS prime-time show Bull, six months after it was reported that an actress on the show was paid millions to settle her sexual harassment claim against its lead actor.

[NEW YORK] Steven Spielberg's production company is cutting ties with CBS prime-time show Bull, six months after it was reported that an actress on the show was paid millions to settle her sexual harassment claim against its lead actor.

"We can confirm that we are no longer associated with the show," a spokesman for Mr Spielberg's company, Amblin Television, said on Thursday.

In December, The New York Times revealed that CBS paid Eliza Dushku US$9.5 million (S$12.9 million) to settle her claim that she was sexually harassed by actor Michael Weatherly. The network said the figure matched what she would have "received for the balance of her contract as a series regular".

At the time, CBS said in a statement that her allegations were evidence that the network's attempts to create "a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace" were "far from done".

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Amblin TV severed its ties on the day the network announced that it had renewed Bull for a fourth season. Mr Spielberg's company was previously one of the producers, along with CBS Studios.

Ms Dushku was Mr Weatherly's co-star in a run of episodes during the first season.

She said his inappropriate remarks included comments on her appearance, references to a threesome and a rape joke. She also said that she was written off the show shortly after she confronted Mr Weatherly about his behaviour, despite plans to make her a series regular.

In a statement to NYT last year, Mr Weatherly said he made jokes to Ms Dushku "mocking some lines in the script" and that he was "mortified to have offended her".

He denied that he had anything to do with her being written off the show.

In an interview with Deadline in March, Ms Dushku said she met Mr Spielberg and people affiliated with the Time's Up organisation to discuss "possible solutions for this systemic imbalance of power" in the entertainment industry.

Ms Dushku's allegations were included in a draft report prepared by two law firms that examined CBS' workplace culture last year. The firms were hired after the CBS chief executive, Leslie Moonves, was accused of sexual misconduct. Mr Moonves was fired by CBS in September 2018, after a dozen accusers described their claims to The New Yorker.

Deadline first reported the news of Spielberg's departure. CBS declined to comment on Amblin's decision.

When asked if Amblin TV would refuse any future remuneration resulting from back-end deals, in addition to removing its name from the show, a spokeswoman for Mr Spielberg's company declined to comment.

NYTIMES