There’s been somewhat of a lull in the career deaths of many Hollywood big-hitters, but it looks like it’s making a comeback with a big name at the front of the pack — Morgan Freeman. Love him or hate him, the man has been in more movies than one can imagine and has the narration voice that will probably never be matched.
He also, according to at least 8 women, is a pro at inappropriate behavior and harassment. Typically, once multiple alleged victims raise their voices publicly, it means the end of one’s career.
A new CNN report details accusations by eight woman who say they were subjected to inappropriate behavior and harassment by actor Morgan Freeman.
The women include production assistants on Freeman’s past projects and entertainment reporters at press junkets. One assistant on the film Going Out in Style tells CNN that she was subjected to unwanted touching and comments by Freeman on a near-daily basis. She described a specific incident in which he “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear,” CNN reports. He was unsuccessful but kept trying.
Eventually, she said, “Alan [Arkin, a co-star] made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.”
According to CNN, some women said they came up with ways to combat the alleged harassment on their own— one tactic described involved changing the way they dressed when they knew he would be around. A woman who worked on a different film told the news network, “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.”
The pattern of alleged inappropriate behavior was also traced by CNN to Freeman’s production company, Revelations Entertainment. Incidents, like the one during production of Going Out in Style, were not reported because the women feared they’d put their jobs in jeopardy.
“If I ever passed him he would stare at me in an awkward way, would look me up and down sometimes stopping and just staring,” one woman who worked as a manager at Revelations said. “One time he stopped, looked me up and down as I walked into a room of people, and everyone burst out laughing. And I literally froze feeling very uncomfortable and one of the people in the office said, ‘Don’t worry, that’s just Morgan.'”
Per the report, the alleged behavior was not confined to movie sets. Three entertainment reporters said that Freeman made inappropriate remarks to them during while covering upcoming films at press junkets. Chloe Melas (one of the co-authors of the story and an entertainment reporter at CNN) says that Freeman, in a room full of people, shook her hand, looked her up and down, and said more than once a variation of, “I wish I was there.” (Melas was six months pregnant at the time.) She says he also said to her, “You are ripe.”
In total, CNN spoke to 16 people during the months-long investigation—eight who were victims of Freeman’s alleged harassment and eight who said they were witnesses to his behavior.
Freeman issued a statement to multiple news outlets, including Buzzfeed News, after the CNN story was published:
“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.”