Morgan Freeman vehemently defended his behavior with women on movie sets and in the work-space of his production company, Revelations Entertainment, saying that the comments he purportedly made in jest have come back to haunt him as instances of harassment.
The Oscar-winning actor was accused of harassment and inappropriate behavior by eight women in a report published by CNN this past Thursday, with young production assistants and work interns claiming that Freeman often passed vulgar comments on sets while the atmosphere at his office was “toxic” for female employees.
Freeman had initially responded to the accusations with a short statement, claiming “anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy” but now, having had the time to reflect on the repercussions of his actions, he has released a more detailed defense, which claims that he has never assaulted any woman sexually.
“I am devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye, by Thursday’s media reports.”
“All the victims of sexual assault and harassment deserve to be heard. And we need to listen to them. But it is not right to equate horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humor.”
Freeman added that he attempted to “joke with and compliment women” because he wanted to make them comfortable around him, according to New York Daily News.
“Clearly I was not always coming across the way I intended. And that is why I apologized Thursday and continue to apologize to anyone I might have upset, however unintentionally.”
“But I also want to be clear: I did not create unsafe work environments. I did not assault women. I did not offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex. Any suggestion that I did so is completely false.”
But if anything, Morgan Freeman’s behavior isolated women to the point where they became scared of him. Some even claimed that they didn’t dress in tight clothes or exposed their cleavage because it would attract Freeman’s attention. One woman who worked with him on the sets of Going in Style said that her experience of working with Freeman forced her to quit the movie industry for good.
Another woman who worked as a manager at Revelations claimed that Freeman would stare at her for long periods, making her uncomfortable. Sometimes he would do so and then burst into laughter with the other men.