While many women have come forward with their #MeToo stories as a result of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal, one CNN reporter was motivated by an incident that took place long before the Hollywood executive was outed. Chloe Melas interviewed Morgan Freeman on the set of the Warner Bros. film Going In Style where she alleges that the legendary actor made inappropriate remarks about her conception and pregnancy.
During their conversation, Melas says that Freeman ogled her and repeatedly remarked that he wished he was present when she conceived her child. She told The New York Times that the taped interview even captured the actor making that statement one time. Melas went to her boss last year to report the incident who in turn referred her to the human resources department where she shared her account of what happened.
The seasoned reporter told The Times that she has interviewed some of the biggest names in Hollywood who, until then, had never crossed the line with her. Melas was certain that where there was smoke, there was fire. Her incident couldn’t be the only one and she started asking women who had worked with Freeman about their experiences with him. She found that she indeed wasn’t alone, but no one was willing to go on the record. So the now-31-year old filed her grievance and went out on medical leave.
After replaying that whole scene in her mind the entire time she was off from work, Melas checked in with human resources upon her return. She was told that no action was taken because her story could not be corroborated. In spite of the video, there was not enough evidence to warrant any corrective action. Supposedly, there were no known eyewitnesses to Freeman’s alleged improper conduct during her interview with him.
Melas expected at least an internal investigation as both CNN and Warner Bros. are owned by Time Warner. It didn’t happen, but the young woman was determined to find out the truth. With CNN‘s blessing, Melas launched an investigation. Paired up with reporter An Phung, the team took six months to interview potential victims and witnesses and discovered multiple accusers.
“Obviously we know these people and we know their names. We know where they worked. We know how long they’ve worked there. We have corroboration through different types of proof that they’re able to give us and speaking to friends and family members and co-workers and former colleagues. A lot of these are not just one-time interviews. These were multiple interviews over months and months and going back and re-corroborating. There’s a very strict process in sourcing.”
Freeman has apologized for offending anyone but adamantly denies any wrongdoing.