Morgan Freeman said Friday night that he never assaulted women or offered “employment or advancement in exchange for sex.”
The statement came a day after CNN published a report in which eight women accused the actor of misconduct, from unwelcome sexual comments to “unwanted touching” to harassment. In an apology Thursday, he said it was “never my intent” for anyone to feel uncomfortable or disrespected.
The eight women, all but two of whom are unnamed, told CNN the actor made remarks about their appearance or their clothing choices that made them uncomfortable, with some adding that he would stare at them or touch them.
He elaborated Friday by saying the following:
“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 victims of 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.
I admit that I am someone who feels a need to try to make women–and men–feel appreciated and at ease around me. As a part of that, I would often try to joke with and compliment women, in what I thought was a light-hearted and humorous way.
Clearly I was not always coming across the way I intended. And that is why I apologized Thursday and will 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.”