Morgan Freeman Accused of Sexual Harassment in New Investigation
Another Day, Another #MeToo Story
A new CNN investigation features eight women accusing actor Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment and misconduct. CNN’s An Phung and Chloe Melas published an in-depth report detailing accounts of the 80 year old film icon’s alleged on-set behavior, where several women claimed he would repeatedly harass them about their bodies and clothing choices.
In an incident on the set of Going in Style in 2015, a production assistant detailed Freeman’s almost daily harassment, saying Freeman “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear. Alan [Arkin] made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.” A member of the production staff of 2012’s Now You See Me claimed that Freeman was constantly making comments about the female staffer’s bodies and wardrobe. “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.”
Freeman’s alleged behavior also extended off set to interviews and press junkets. Melas, who reported on the investigation, even shared her own experience with Freeman, when she interviewed him at a junket while six months pregnant. Freeman “repeatedly looked her up and down and saying more than once a variation of, ‘I wish I was there.’ She says he also said to her, ‘You are ripe’.”
The actor’s alleged behavior also contributed to the toxic corporate culture at his production company, Revelations Entertainment. The company, which he founded with Lori McCreary, produced several of Freeman’s hit films such as Along Came a Spider and Invictus. Freeman was accused of frequently harassing the female employees, and behaved bizarrely at a birthday party thrown in his honor. A writer for Madam Secretary, which Revelations produces, said:
“We saw Morgan go around to the girls in the circle and get really close to their faces, he didn’t do it to the men. I don’t know what he said but we all thought it was strange and couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. Absolutely there were sexual undertones to it.” After the #MeToo movement began, the same writer said, writers on the show joked — with that incident in mind — “that Morgan would be the next person to be called out.”
McCreary was also described as both a victim of Freeman’s harassment and an enabler. The investigation describes Freeman repeatedly belittling his producing partner, even in front of an audience of 400 people at 2016’s Produced By conference, where he described meeting her for the first time. “She wants to be thought of as serious. But you can’t get away from the short dresses.” McCreary herself has also been accused of discrimination, when a witness alleged that she had a history of mocking working women with families. In one instance, when on a phone call to discuss a candidate vying for a position at the Producers Guild of America she said, “she’ll never be able to do a good job, she has a family.”
In light of the disturbing allegations, Freeman has issued a statement saying “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.”
(via CNN, image: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
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