SAG-AFTRA ‘Reviewing’ Morgan Freeman’s Lifetime Achievement Award Following Misconduct Accusations

Accusations “are absolutely contrary to all the steps that we are taking to insure a safe work environment,” organization says

Last Updated: May 24, 2018 @ 1:17 PM

SAG-AFTRA is “reviewing” the Lifetime Achievement Award that was given to Morgan Freeman earlier this year following sexual misconduct allegations made against the actor.

“These are compelling and devastating allegations which are absolutely contrary to all the steps that we are taking to insure a safe work environment for the professionals in this industry,” a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson told TheWrap on Thursday. “Any accused person has the right to due process, but it is our starting point to believe the courageous voices who come forward to report incidents of harassment.”

The statement concluded, “Given Mr. Freeman recently received one of our union’s most prestigious honors recognizing his body of work, we are therefore reviewing what corrective actions may be warranted at this time.”

Earlier on Thursday, eight women told CNN that the actor made unwelcome remarks about their appearance or their clothing choices, and some reported he would stare at them or touch them.

Freeman issued a public apology shortly after CNN published the report, saying, “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.”

SAG-AFTRA’s new sexual harassment code of conduct was instated in February, which prohibits “unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, inappropriate use of nudity or sexual images in work areas, repeatedly sending sexually offensive texts or emails, and other unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”

“A hostile work environment is characterized by unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and which creates a hostile, offensive or intimidating work environment. Conduct directed at others can nevertheless generate a hostile work environment,” the document reads. “Employers have a legal and contractual obligation to maintain a workplace free from sexual harassment. SAG-AFTRA is committed to holding employers accountable for meeting this obligation.”

Freeman received his Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 SAG Awards in January.