Morgan Freeman Accused Of Sexual Harassment By Eight Women
Hours after CNN published the report the actor apologised claiming it was never his intent to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
On Thursday CNN published an investigation where they spoke to a total of 16 people from across projects featuring actor Morgan Freeman.
Of those 16, eight claimed to be victims of sexual harassment or indecent behaviour, the other eight acting as witnesses, corroborating those stories to CNN.
In 2017 Freeman starred in Going In Style alongside Michael Caine and Alan Arkin. A production assistant on the film alleged Freeman would comment on her body, subject her to unwanted touching and in one instance attempted to lift her skirt.
After her experiences with Freeman the young woman left the film industry.
Another senior production staffer on the 2013 film Now You See Me also claimed Freeman would often comment on the bodies of the women on staff.
"We knew that if he was coming by ... not to wear any top that would show our breasts, not to wear anything that would show our bottoms, meaning not wearing clothes that [were] fitted."
Of the eight women who spoke to CNN regarding Freeman's alleged pattern of indecent behaviour, all said they didn't report the 80-year-old's actions as they feared for their jobs.
"Morgan did things in a way that an older more established person can get away with because they have that power," one production assistant who worked on The Dark Knight said.
"They can't be replaced, but you can be replaced very easily, that's just kind of the dynamic on set."
Rather than reporting Freeman, several women said they "came up with ways to combat the alleged harassment," like changing the way they dressed.
Soon after CNN published the investigation Freeman issued an apologetic statement saying it was never his intentions to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
"Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy," the statement read.
"I apologise to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent."
The allegations weren't just limited to those who had worked on projects with Freeman in the past, but even those who had very public run-ins with the actor during his publicity tours. One such incident included the co-author of CNN's investigation, Chloe Melas.
Interviewing Freeman for Going in Style during a press junket Melas, who was six months pregnant at the time, shook the actor's hand in front of his co-stars and a room full of crew as Freeman looked her up and down, allegedly commenting, "you are ripe," and "I wish I was there".
After her uncomfortable encounter Melas decided not to cover the film but instead began investigating Freeman's behaviour resulting in the investigation.
Freeman's production company, Revelations Entertainment, was also described as having a "toxic" environment behind the guise of a progressive workplace.
Six former Revelations staff members each said they recalled Freeman's behaviour at the company, with at least one instance of alleged unwanted touching. The company was said to not have a formal HR department so staff members created a "survivors club" where they would talk about their experiences.
A former female employee claimed Freeman looked her up and down when they first met asking her, "How do you feel about sexual harassment?"
"I was stunned," the former employee told CNN, who alleged the comments were made in front of a group of men on the set of the docu-series Through the Wormhole.
"This is the person that I worked for, this is his company, I didn't expect it at all ... I said timidly, 'I love it' in a sarcastic way hoping to make light of the situation because I was so confused and then he turned to the guys on the crew ... and said, 'See guys, this is how you do it.'"
The reports included instances of Freeman allegedly asking women to "twirl" for him, starring at their bodies and unwanted "massages".
A writer that worked on Madam Secretary apparently told CNN that after the #MeToo movement began, "Morgan would be the next person to be called out".
The allegations against Freeman arrive as disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to police on Friday on charges of sexual misconduct.
Weinstein was accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour and misconduct by over 70 women.
Freeman, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2005, was also awarded the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award earlier this year.
After the CNN report surfaced SAG-AFTRA issued a statement saying they could take "corrective actions" as they investigate the claims against him.
Featured image: Getty images.