Morgan Freeman Accused of Sexual Harassment and Inappropriate Behavior
Morgan Freeman is the latest actor to join the ever-growing list of powerful men in Hollywood accused of sexual misconduct. Several women have accused the 80-year-old Oscar-winning actor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.
On Thursday, CNN published a report detailing allegations made against the actor by multiple production assistants and journalists, many of which were corroborated by former employees of his. The publication spoke to 16 people who “described a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman on set.” Eight of those 16 people claimed to be victims of Freeman’s actions, some describing it as sexual harassment, others as inappropriate behavior. The allegations range from incidents of unwanted touching to comments about women’s bodies and/or clothing that happened publicly on the sets of his films, at his production company, Revelations Entertainment, and during press junkets. Freeman’s spokesperson has yet to comment on the allegations.
Update: Freeman has issued a statement on the allegations, via The Wrap:
Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.
Original story below...
The outlet’s months-long investigation into Freeman began with inappropriate comments the actor allegedly made toward one of CNN’s own entertainment reporters, Chloe Melas, who co-authored the exposé. While interviewing Freeman at the junket for Going in Style, Melas, pregnant at the time, said the actor made comments about her appearance such as, “You are ripe,” and “Boy, do I wish I was there.” While the latter comment was made on camera, and CNN’s Human Resources contacted Warner Bros’ HR department about the incident, the studio’s HR failed to take any action.
Another reporter, Chicago’s WGN-TV, Tyra Martin, told CNN she grew used to Freeman’s comments about her appearance, but one in particular crossed the line and made her uncomfortable:
“When I stood up, I pulled my skirt part of my dress down and he did say, ‘Oh, don’t pull it down now.’”
An unnamed production assistant who worked on Going in Style told CNN that Freeman would reportedly subject her to unwanted touching and comments about her clothing on a “near-daily basis.” She claimed the actor would rub or rest his hand on her lower back and one time, she said, he “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear.” Freeman’s co-star, Alan Arkin, allegedly stepped in at one point and “made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.” Accusations aren’t limited to the Going in Style set. An unnamed former male employee of Revelations media told CNN he witnessed Freeman be “verbally inappropriate” on set. “[He’d say] things like ‘I’d like to have an hour with her’ or make vulgar and sexual comments about women,” the employee told CNN.
Freeman’s alleged behavior wasn’t just contained to the set or press junket, though. Multiple women who worked for his Revelations Entertainment told CNN about how Freeman would stare at their bodies, leading them to change the way they dressed at work to avoid uncomfortable looks and situations with the actor. The allegations of his behavior at the production office include Freeman staring at one woman’s breasts, massaging an intern’s shoulders, and one incident where he stood closely to female employees’ faces at his 79th birthday party – one person who witnessed the latter, a writer for Madam Secretary, said, “Absolutely there were sexual undertones to it.”
Many of the women who came forward told CNN they never reported the incidents for fear of losing their jobs. Another noted her encounters with Freeman were the reason she left the industry. As is often the excuse we hear about men accused of sexual misconduct, Freeman’s alleged behavior seemed to be known, but brushed off by many as acceptable. One former female employee recounted an uncomfortable staring incident where another Revelations employee who witnessed it reacted by telling her “Don’t worry, that’s just Morgan.”