Eight women have accused Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in a CNN report about the actor’s alleged inappropriate behavior, describing multiple troubling incidents throughout his career.
In all, 16 people spoke to CNN about Freeman as part of the investigation; eight witnesses and eight who claim to be victims. The outlet’s entertainment reporter Chloe Melas — who co-authored the article — was the only victim who spoke on the record.
A young production assistant said that in the summer of 2015, while she was working on Freeman’s bank heist comedy Going in Style, she was subjected to several months of harassment. She alleged that Freeman repeatedly touched her without permission, resting his hand on her lower back or rubbing her lower back, and frequently made comments about her figure and clothing.
In one incident, she said Freeman “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear,” adding that he never successfully lifted her skirt. “Alan [Arkin] made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.”
A senior member of the production staff of the movie Now You See Me in 2012 said Freeman “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.”
At a spokesperson’s request, CNN emailed “a detailed list” of the accusations against Freeman but received no response at the time of publishing.
When reached by The Hollywood Reporter, a rep for Freeman provided the following statement from the actor: “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.”
CNN’s investigation into Freeman’s behavior came after the news company’s own entertainment reporter, Melas, claimed to have experienced harassment from the Oscar winner during a press junket interview for Going In Style.
Melas was six months pregnant at the time of the interview. She alleged that, in a room full of people that included his co-stars Arkin and Michael Caine, Freeman shook her hand and repeated a variation of, “I wish I was there.” She also claimed that he said to her, “You are ripe.”
Cameras were rolling and recorded Freeman telling Melas, “Boy, do I wish I was there”; his other comments were not caught on film. Melas was the only CNN employee there at the time. Later, Melas reported the incident to CNN HR, who then reached out to the HR department at Warner Bros., distributor of the film. (Both CNN and Warner Bros. are owned by Time Warner.)
Melas said she was informed that Warner Bros. was unable to corroborate her account because “only one of Freeman’s remarks was on video and the Warner Bros. employees present did not notice anything.” Melas and her supervisor later agreed not to cover the movie.
Warner Bros. confirmed to CNN that what Melas said was accurate but declined further comment. A rep for Caine declined to comment, and a rep for Arkin said the actor was not available to comment.
For more details: hollywoodreporter.com