A CNN report on Thursday revealed claims by eight women who alleged that Morgan Freeman had either spoken to them inappropriately, ‘touched’ them without them wanting him to or, in one of the most severe cases, lifted up their skirts.
The actor issued an apology after the report emerged and said he never intended to make any of the women feel uncomfortable. But afterwards, as he was dumped by sponsors including Visa and as his legendary acting career was momentarily eclipsed by the scandal, he spoke out again.
All these came after Entertainment Tonight dug up old interview clips in its archives which show Morgan Freeman speaking to young female reporters in a suggestive way.
In one clip, Freeman asks ET correspondent Ashley Crossan if she is married as they sat down for an interview in 2016. ‘You fool around with older guys?’ Freeman asks when Crossan replies that she is unmarried. Crossan laughs but does not otherwise acknowledge the remark.
The second uncomfortable incident occurred in 2015, when ET special correspondent Janet Mock interviewed Freeman ahead of his film Five Flights Up. ‘I don’t know how you all manage to do that all the time,’ Freeman says as Mock sits down to begin the interview. You got a dress halfway between your knee and your hips, and you sit down right across from me and you cross your legs’.
Below are Morgan Freeman’s statements on the sexual harassment claims so far,,,
‘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.’
‘Morgan Freeman issued the following statement through his publicist on Friday May 25, 2018: ‘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.’