At least eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour
After a report by CNN revealed the claims, the Oscar winner apologised to anyone who felt ‘uncomfortable or disrespected’, saying that was ‘never my intent’
At least eight women have accused actor Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behaviour or harassment while working with them on film sets or at promotional events, CNN reported on Thursday.
CNN said it spoke with 16 people as part of its investigation into Freeman, some of whom also alleged sexual misconduct by Freeman at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.
In a statement, Freeman said he was sorry to anyone who had been made to feel uncomfortable or treated with disrespect.
“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 said. “I apologise to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected – that was never my intent.”
Representatives for Freeman and Revelations Entertainment did not respond to requests for further comment.
CNN quoted a young production assistant who said Morgan harassed her over a period of months in the summer of 2015, while she was working on his bank heist comedy Going in Style.
She accuses Freeman of touching her repeatedly, resting his hand on her lower back or rubbing her lower back without permission, and frequently making comments about her appearance. The woman said Freeman, who turns 80 next week, continually tried to lift her skirt and kept asking if she was wearing underwear.
Actor Alan Arkin “made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say,” the woman said.
A senior member of the production staff of 2013’s Now You See Me told CNN that team members knew “not to wear any top that would show our breasts, not to wear anything that would show our bottoms,” or any fitted clothes, if Freeman was coming by them.
Multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against male actors, filmmakers and agents have roiled Hollywood since October, leading in some cases to resignations and the halting of projects.
Similar accusations have also engulfed men in US politics and business, and inspired a #MeToo movement by victims sharing their stories of sexual harassment or abuse.
CNN said eight people told the network they were victims of what some labelled harassment and others called inappropriate behaviour by Freeman. It said eight others told the network they witnessed the actor’s alleged misconduct.
CNN also said other sources denied having seen any questionable behaviour by the actor, and that those sources described him as being professional on set and in the office.
Freeman, whose career has spanned 50 years and more than 100 films, won an Oscar in 2005 as best supporting actor for his role in Million Dollar Baby.