Morgan Freeman has been accused of sexual misconduct by eight women, including allegations of “unwanted touching” and harassment, in a report published Thursday by CNN.
CNN spoke to the eight women, as well as eight other people who say they witnessed inappropriate behavior by Freeman on film sets, while promoting his movies and also at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.
Aside from WGN entertainment reporter Tyra Martin and Chloe Melas, a CNN entertainment reporter who co-authored the story, none of the accusers are named in the story. Both accused the star of making unwelcome comments about their appearance during movie junkets.
In a statement to TheWrap, Freeman said, “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.”
A young production assistant on “Going in Style” told CNN that Freeman would make comments about her figure and clothing on a daily basis, as well as touching her back. Because of her experience, she said she decided to leave the movie industry.
Another woman who worked on the 2012 movie “Now You See Me” said Freeman sexually harassed her and made comments about her body. “He 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,” she said.
Each of the women said they didn’t report Freeman’s behavior because they feared for their jobs. Instead, the women said they tried to come up with ways to combat the harassment on their own. Examples of that were dressing in a different way when the actor was around.
Three entertainment reporters told CNN that Freeman made inappropriate remarks to them during press junkets. Melas said she was six months pregnant when she interviewed Freeman last year when he was promoting “Going in Style” and that he told her, “I wish I was there” and “you are ripe.”
She reported what happened to CNN human resources which then involved Warner Bros., which produced and distributed the movie. According to Melas, Warner Bros. could not corroborate the account because only one of Freeman’s remarks was caught on tape. (A rep for the studio did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.)
Former Revelations Entertainment staffers also told CNN that the company’s two founders, Freeman and producer Lori McCreary, created a “toxic” work environment, where female staffers were exposed to sexual comments made by Freeman.
One former female employee said when she met the actor, he “looked me up and down” and then asked her, “How do you feel about sexual harassment?”
“I was stunned,” she told CNN. “This is the person that I worked for, this is his company, I didn’t expect it at all … I said timidly, ‘I love it’ in a sarcastic way hoping to make light of the situation because I was so confused and then he turned to the guys on the crew … and said, ‘See guys, this is how you do it.'”
Another woman said 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.”
A male former employee said, “One time I witnessed Morgan walk up to an intern and start massaging her. The intern got visibly red and wiggled out of his grasp, it was awkward.”
Another former male Revelations staffer said, “[He’d say] things like ‘I’d like to have an hour with her’ or make vulgar and sexual comments about women. He would be verbally inappropriate and it was just shocking. You’re more shocked than anything because it’s hard to have the wherewithal to say to him ‘That’s inappropriate.’ You’re just like ‘whoa.’ It’s hard because on any set he is the most powerful person on it. It’s weird because you just don’t expect it from Morgan Freeman, someone who you respect.”
A former executive told CNN about an unusual situation at a 79th birthday party that Revelations threw for Freeman. The actor would go up to women who had been gathered in a circle and “stand maybe within an inch of their face and just look them up and down and not say anything, and then would move on to the next woman and he’d stand like within an inch of their face and look them up and down and not say anything, and it was really, really strange.”
According to sources who spoke to CNN, McCreary would often mock women who had to leave work early for family commitments, although she openly advocated for work-life balance.
Reps for McCreary and Revelations Entertainment have not responded to requests for comment.