Morgan Freeman has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.
CNN broke the news of the Oscar winner’s alleged harassment, interviewing 16 people who experienced inappropriate behaviour by the actor and claim that Freeman engaged in unwanted touching and made suggestive comments.
The accusers include employees of his production company Revelations Entertainment, on-set production staff, and reporters.
Four people who worked with the actor on film sets described him as repeatedly behaving in ways that made women feel uncomfortable at work.
One movie production assistant said Freeman unsuccessfully tried to lift her skirt. Other women talked about unwanted touching on their backs and shoulders.
The Shawshank Redemption star issued a statement via his publicist.
“I am devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye, by Thursday’s media reports.
All victims of assault and harassment deserve to be heard. And we need to listen to them. But it is not right to equate horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humour.
I admit that I am someone who feels a need to try to make women—and men—feel appreciated and at ease around me. As a part of that, I would often try to joke with and compliment women, in what I thought was a light-hearted and humorous way.
Clearly I was not always coming across the way I intended. And that is why I apologised Thursday and will continue to apologise to anyone I might have upset, however unintentionally.
But I also want to be clear: I did not create unsafe work environments. I did not assault women. I did not offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex. Any suggestion that I did so is completely false.”
News of accusations against Freeman came on the same day Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was due to surrender to police in New York on charges of sexual misconduct.