Morgan Freeman has been forced to apologise after eight women accused the Oscar-winning actor of harassment and inappropriate behaviour.
In total, 16 people spoke to CNN about Freeman’s actions, eight of whom claimed to be victims of either sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour, and eight who said they witnessed the actor’s alleged misconduct.
A young production assistant who worked on Going in Style – the 2015 comedy starring Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin – alleges the US actor subjected her to unwanted touching.
She also alleged that Freeman would comment on her figure and clothing on a regular basis, and that he would rest his hand on her lower back or rub her lower back.
In one instance, she said Freeman “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear.” At one point, she recalled, “Alan made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.”
Freeman issued an apology about two hours after the CNN article 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,” Freeman said in a statement.
“I apologise to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected – that was never my intent.”
Freeman’s alleged behaviour extended beyond Going in Style. A female senior production staffer of Freeman’s 2012 film Now You See Me reported a similar pattern of behaviour.
She said Freeman sexually harassed her and other female assistants by commenting on their bodies.
“He did comment on our bodies,” she said. “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 women accusing Freeman have worked with the now 80-year-old actor both on movie sets and at his production company Revelations Entertainment.
They said they changed the way they dressed when they knew Freeman would be around to avoid his behaviour. Each of the women said they didn’t report him, most citing that they feared for their jobs.
One female former employee said when she met Freeman for the first time on the set of Through the Wormhole, the actor looked her “up and down” before asking, “‘How do you feel about sexual harassment?'”
A female manager at Revelations alleged that Freeman would “come over to my desk to say hi and he’d just stand there and stare at me. He would stare at my breasts.”