Michael Weatherly And 'NCIS' Agent Tony DiNozzo Are Not The Same Person

Michael Weatherly left NCIS in 2016, but Tony DiNozzo may still be one of the most beloved characters of television. Tony’s endearing antics and bad boy tendencies won the hearts of millions (21 million viewers per episode, to be exact) because underneath it all, he was a teddy bear with a kind heart. After 13 seasons, it’s no surprise viewers became attached to Tony — so what happens when the real man behind him messes up?

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, actress Eliza Dushku publicly addressed Weatherly’s behavior on the set of the CBS series, Bull. She never intended to write an essay about the ordeal, but after the New York Times caught wind of her $9.5 million settlement with the network and Weatherly and CBS spoke out, she was forced to defend herself.

“The narrative propagated by CBS, actor Michael Weatherly, and writer-producer Glenn Gordon Caron is deceptive,” Dushku wrote, “and in no way fits with how they treated me on the set of the television show ‘Bull’’ and retaliated against me for simply asking to do my job without relentless sexual harassment. This is not a ‘he-said/she-said’ case.”

Dushku thoroughly described what happened. She explained why the network eventually offered her a settlement equal to “a portion” of what she would have earned as a series regular for up to six seasons.

Dushku’s story is not dissimilar to the experiences of other actresses abused by male authorities on set. Weatherly made rape jokes, propositioned her for a threesome, told her he was going to take her over his knee to spank her, and regularly harassed her while the series’ writer-producer, Glenn Gordon Caron, turned a blind eye. When Dushku was fed up, she asked Weatherly to help her make the set’s atmosphere less toxic. Weatherly told her she had a “humor deficit,” and soon after, Caron fired her.

When Dushku’s agent contacted the network, executives had no idea she’d been terminated. Instead of taking steps to fix the problem or acknowledge Dushku’s concerns, the network offered her the settlement.

Dushku’s experience came to light about three months after CBS CEO Les Moonves stepped down from his post due to sexual harassment allegations. Now, all eyes are on the network as it struggles to fight off bad press and maintain viewership. But as viewers, we should reject the studio until real changes are made.

This situation also presents an opportunity for the public to demand justice and support the victim, no matter how much they loved Weatherly’s character in NCIS.

Some have done that…

… while others, as evidenced by the comments we received on another recent article on this topic, have not.

When we’ve only ever seen a person on the small screen, it can be difficult to separate that individual from the roles they play, but in cases like Weatherly’s, it’s a must.

I’ll always love Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, but Weatherly has lost my respect — and that’s okay.

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