Morgan Freeman has been accused of harassment by eight different women.
The accusations of inappropriate behaviour include claims from a young production assistant who alleges the 80-year-old actor attempted to lift up her skirt in 2015.
She goes on to claim Alan Arkin intervened on the set of bank heist movie Going In Style during the alleged incident.
[Freeman] kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear.
Alan [Arkin] made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.
Another person, who was a apparently a senior member of production staff on the set of Now You See Me in 2012, alleged it was common knowledge Freeman ‘harassed’ women behind the scenes.
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.
In all, 16 people spoke to CNN about Freeman as part of this investigation, eight of whom said they were victims of what some called harassment and others called inappropriate behaviour by Freeman. Eight said they witnessed Freeman’s alleged conduct. These 16 people together described a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman on set, while promoting his movies and at his production company Revelations Entertainment.
Of those 16, seven people described an environment at Revelations Entertainment that included allegations of harassment or inappropriate behavior by Freeman there, with one incident allegedly witnessed by Lori McCreary, Freeman’s co-founder in the enterprise, and another in which she was the target of demeaning comments by Freeman in a public setting. One of those seven people alleged that McCreary made a discriminatory remark regarding a female candidate for a job at the Producers Guild of America, where McCreary is co-president.
CNN also report Freeman’s spokesperson has yet to reply to their email with a ‘detailed list of the accusations’, despite numerous follow-ups.
One accuser, a manager at Revelations Entertainment, alleged:
[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.
If I ever passed him he would stare at me in an awkward way, would look me up and down sometimes stopping and just staring,” she said. “One time he stopped, looked me up and down as I walked into a room of people, and everyone burst out laughing. And I literally froze feeling very uncomfortable and one of the people in the office said, ‘Don’t worry, that’s just Morgan.’
That sort of interaction was when I stopped wearing a skirt around the office when he was there,” said the former manager. “I can’t say it was an accident that I’d be wearing a potato sack and a ponytail on certain days when he was there and do my best to avoid him when he was in the office.
Freeman has responded with a brief statement apologising the to women who made allegations against him, Sky News reports.
The statement says:
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 apologise to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected – that was never my intent.
The news comes after the industry-expose #MeToo movement which helped give voices to people who had experienced sexual abuse and harassment.