Michael Douglas is not sitting around waiting for someone to damage his reputation with sexual misconduct allegations. The Oscar-winning actor is getting ahead of the game with a detailed denial of an impending tabloid story crafted by a former employee. In a lengthy interview with Deadline, Douglas went on record to vehemently deny that he talked inappropriately and masturbated in front of a female employee more than 30 years ago, and he issued his denial before her story saw the light of day.
Michael Douglas’ accuser, who was involved in a development role in his company three decades ago, has not yet had her story published, but the actor told Deadline that he “felt the need to get ahead of it.” Michael revealed that over the holidays he was contacted by his attorney, who informed him that the Hollywood Reporter was planning to run a story about an employee who worked for him 32 years ago, right around the time he made some of his biggest films, including Fatal Attraction and Wall Street.
Douglas told Deadline that his ex-employee stated that he routinely used colorful language in front of her and that he spoke raunchily on the phone when she was in the room. Michael said he eventually fired the woman over her work but that she now claims he blackballed her from the entertainment industry. The most damning allegation revealed by Douglas is that the woman claims he masturbated in front of her. Michael Douglas was married to his first wife, Diandra Luker, at the time.
Michael Douglas described his former employee as a “sophisticated, intelligent,” woman “with a good sense of humor” and he praised her as an active feminist. The actor said his head was “reeling” after he heard the accusations and that he immediately asked to speak to the THR reporter who was working on the story.
“I just couldn’t put this together,” Michael told Deadline.
“I’ve had no contact with her, in thirty-plus years. I talked to the reporter and said, ‘Listen, as far as using colorful language in front her, I apologize. None of it was directed at her; she didn’t say it was… she may have overheard private conversations, and if she was offended, she could have excused herself. As far as blackballing her, that was completely untrue. She was a lady who was involved in development at my company, and we just didn’t have a good development record in the time she was there, so I just moved on. I never blackballed her…Finally, masturbating in front of her? I don’t know where to begin. This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever.”
Michael Douglas said the reporter agreed to let the story simmer over the holidays, then came back and said Douglas’ accuser was trying to shop her story elsewhere and that THR was considering running it so they wouldn’t get scooped. As of now, the story hasn’t been published, but Douglas said the incident forced him to think back on his 50-year career, in which has worked with hundreds of female executives, producers, and actresses. Michael also said that he prides himself on his reputation in the entertainment industry and that he has no skeletons coming out of his closet.
“I’m bewildered why, after 32 years, this is coming out, now,” Douglas said.
“I will fess up to colorful language, but the issue of masturbating in front of her? That rung is something I’ve only heard about the last year. It’s not an expression that related to the ’80s. So I thought it stunk…I’d confess to anything I thought I was responsible for. And it was most certainly not masturbating in front of this woman. This reeks.”
Douglas revealed that his accuser is a novelist and a blogger, and she has mentioned him in her blogs in the past, but she never wrote anything bad about him.
“It leads me to believe she either has or is trying to get a book deal,” Michael said. “Maybe she is disgruntled her career didn’t go the way she hoped and she is holding this grudge.”
Michael Douglas went on to say that he would have respected his former employee if she had come to him with her concerns instead of going directly to a reporter. The actor also revealed that his teen children are very upset and worry about the possibility of a legitimate trade publication printing an untrue story about him.
While THR never ran the story, Michael Douglas said he didn’t want to wait around for another publication to pick it up. In his preemptive denial, Douglas repeatedly apologized for using “coarse” language in front of his employee, but his apologies stopped there.
Michael Douglas’ real-life nightmare seems like something out of one of his movies. In the 1980s, the actor famously dealt with harassment from an obsessed lover in the movie, Fatal Attraction, and in the 1990s, he played a male executive who was sexually harassed by his female boss (Demi Moore) in the movie Disclosure.