Evidence of Oscar winner Morgan Freeman’s alleged inappropriate behaviour towards women has emerged in a resurfaced video of a media interview.
The footage shows Freeman, 80, telling Tyra Martin, an entertainment producer at a Chicago TV station, “You’ve got magic written all over you, child”.
Martin was interviewing Freeman for a story promoting his 2013 magician movie Now You See Me. In the video, the actor is seen and heard making multiple passes at the reporter.
After Freeman volunteered that he was single, Martin asked him how he found bachelorhood.
“I am enjoying bachelor life immensely,” he replied.
“I get to look at you and drool.”
Martin interviewed Freeman at least nine times over 10 years at various press junkets.
She said that he “always made sexually charged comments,” CNN journalist Chloe Melas told US cable and satellite news channel HLN on May 24.
“But there was one time that she felt truly crossed a line,” Melas said.
“That was when he asked her not to pull down her skirt as she stood up to leave the interview.”
That alleged comment was not caught on tape and according to CNN, Martin said she was always “in on the joke” when the star flirted with her.
Freeman apologized in a statement on Thursday after eight women accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments and behaviour.
“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 actor said.
“I apologise to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”
Freeman’s alleged inappropriate behaviour happened on set with female production staff, employees at his production company Revelations Entertainment and with journalists, according to CNN.
During the filming of 2015’s Going In Style, Freeman made “constant comments about the way I looked”, one of the women, a production assistant on the movie, told CNN.
Speaking anonymously, the woman – who was in her 20s at the time and no longer works in the film industry – described one incident where Freeman allegedly “kept trying to lift my skirt up”.
He asked her, “if I was wearing underwear”, she said.
The alleged harassment only stopped when Freeman’s co-star Alan Arkin told him to, the woman said.
Also speaking anonymously, another female senior member of the production staff on Now You See Me allegedly accused Freeman of sexually harassing her female assistant multiple times.
According to CNN, the woman alleged that whenever the actor was on set, women knew “not to wear any top that would show our breasts, not to wear anything that should show our bottoms, meaning not wearing clothes that [were] fitted”.
Melas, who co-authored the investigation by the network, said she interviewed Freeman for CNN at a media junket for Going In Style.
She said he made “sexually suggestive comments” to her, adding that in 10 years of being an entertainment reporter, “It was unlike anything I ever truly experienced.”
She was pregnant at the time, and the actor said “I wish I was there” while looking her up and down. His co-stars Michael Caine and Alan Arkin who were flanking him said nothing when he made the comment.
Freeman also told her, “You are ripe”, she claimed.
Melas said she reported Freeman’s behaviour to CNN’s human resources department and they contacted Warner Bros, the film’s studio.
But according to Melas, the company “could not corroborate the account because only one of Freeman’s remarks was on the video”.
When asked by CNN why many of the women chose not to report the alleged incidents, the women said they feared losing their jobs.
In 2010, Freeman denied a National Enquirer allegation that he and his step-granddaughter E’Dena Hines, then 27, were involved in a romantic relationship.