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Sexual harassment and assault

‘I have always supported women’: actor Michael Douglas denies accusations of lewd behaviour – before they’ve even been made public

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 January, 2018, 12:41pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 January, 2018, 10:24pm

Michael Douglas is trying to get ahead of a possible story accusing him of lewd behaviour.

The Oscar-winning actor told Deadline that a former employee claims he “spoke raunchily or dirtily with friends of mine” in front of her and masturbated in front of her more than three decades ago.

While the woman’s allegations have not yet been made public, Douglas said he wanted to issue a denial before the claims were published.

“I will fess up to colourful language, but the issue of masturbating in front of her? That rung is something I’ve only heard about the last year. It’s not an expression that related to the ‘80s. So I thought it stunk,” he told Deadline.

“And I tried to figure out, why the hell would somebody do this? The part that hurt the worst is having to share something like this to your wife and your children. My kids are really upset, has to go to school worrying this is going to be in some article about me, being a sexual harasser. They’re scared and very uncomfortable.”

Douglas has taken the opposite approach to most of the Hollywood men recently accused of sexual harassment and assault, choosing instead to issue a statement before the allegations. But he said that the wave of claims against men including Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey have set a dangerous precedent.

“I support the #metoo movement with all my heart. I have always supported women, along the way. This is the kind of step that can set that movement back,” he told Deadline.

“Being accused, without a chance [to defend yourself] in court. To not even really have the information in front of you, to be able to argue or defend yourself. There is no due process, no chance of seeing evidence in front of me from my accuser. It worries me.”