Actor Michael Douglas ‘fondled himself in front of scared woman in 1980s’
Susan Braudy said the incident happened during a meeting in Douglas’s New York flat, and that her friends were frightened she would be hurt if she told police
A woman who worked for Michael Douglas in the late 1980s says he masturbated himself in front of her – an allegation the actor has vigorously denied.
Journalist Susan Braudy told NBC’s Today show that the actor unbuckled his belt, put his hand into his trousers and fondled himself in her presence. She says a friend later cautioned her not to tell anyone.
Braudy claimed that she was working for Douglas’s production company in 1989 when the incident occurred.
She said that Douglas had already made remarks about her appearance and engaged in “sexually charged dialogue” when he called her into his New York flat for a meeting.
“He slid down to the floor, unbuckled his belt, put his hands inside his trousers and I could see what he was doing,” she said. “And then he began to sort of fondle himself and I was very scared.”
She said that she had discussed the alleged incident with friends, but that they had cautioned her away from speaking out at the time.
“One of my friends said, ‘You better not tell people about him.’ People were frightened for me,” she told Today.
She said that Douglas “thought he was the king of the world and that he could humiliate me without any repercussions.”
Douglas, a two-time Oscar winner, told Deadline earlier this month that he anticipated an upcoming report would contain an allegation by a former employee that he acted inappropriately in front of her about 32 years ago.
He called it a “complete lie, fabrication,” saying: “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 said his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, “has been very supportive,” and said that the accusation would damage the #MeToo movement that encourages women to speak up about sexual harassment and abuse.
“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.”
Douglas’ agent and publicist did not immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment.