Morgan Freeman has issued a public apology after eight women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the Hollywood veteran.
A new CNN expose details accounts from 16 people, eight of whom were reportedly victims, about incidents of inappropriate behaviour on the set of the Shawshank Redemption star’s movies, on the promotional trail, and while working at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.
One young production assistant, who worked on Zach Braff’s 2017 crime comedy Going In Style, in which Morgan co-starred with Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, claimed to have been subjected to months of harassment by the 80-year-old, allegedly making frequent comments about her body and touching her lower back.
On one occasion, she recalls Freeman “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear,” leading Arkin to eventually chastise the Oscar winner.
“Alan made a comment telling him to stop,” she told CNN. “Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.”
Complaints were also made by three reporters covering press junkets for the movie, including CNN’s own Chloe Melas, who was six months pregnant when he allegedly gestured to her baby bump and quipped, “I wish I was there,” and “You are ripe”.
Another production staff member, who worked on Freeman’s 2012 movie Now You See Me, also opened up about the way Freeman allegedly treated her and her female assistant on set.
“He did comment on our bodies… We knew that if he was coming by… not to wear any top that would show our breasts, not to wear anything that would show our bottoms, meaning not wearing clothes that (were) fitted,” she explained.
According to the report, other women were subjected to inappropriate actions and remarks from Freeman while working at Revelations Entertainment, where the company’s co-founder, Lori McCreary, is said to have allegedly witnessed one such incident.
Sources claim she had also been at the receiving end of the star’s demeaning public comments.
One former employee at Revelations admits the reported behaviour stunned many, because Freeman is so well respected in Hollywood.
“(He’d say) things like, ‘I’d like to have an hour with her’ or make vulgar and sexual comments about women,” the ex-staff member said. “He would be verbally inappropriate and it was just shocking. You’re more shocked than anything because it’s hard to have the wherewithal to say to him, ‘That’s inappropriate’. You’re just like, ‘Whoa!’
“It’s hard because on any set he is the most powerful person on it. It’s weird because you just don’t expect it from Morgan Freeman, someone who you respect.”
Shortly after the CNN article hit headlines, Freeman issued a statement insisting he meant no harm by his alleged actions.
“Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy,” he declared. “I apologise to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected – that was never my intent.”