LOS ANGELES – Hollywood star Morgan Freeman has been accused by eight women in the latest sexual harassment and abuse allegations against powerful men in the U.S. entertainment and media industries.
The Oscar winner’s alleged inappropriate behavior and harassment included unwanted touching and inappropriate comments on women, CNN reported on Thursday.
Freeman issued a statement on Thursday apologizing to those who felt “uncomfortable or disrespected” by his behavior.
“Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy,” the actor, who turns 81 next week, said. “I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”
According to a CNN investigation, 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 behavior 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.
One of the victims told CNN that Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching and comments about her figure and clothing on a near-daily basis. The young production assistant who was working on “Going In Style” in 2015 said Freeman “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear.”
A woman who was a senior member of the production staff of the movie “Now You See Me” in 2012 also told CNN that Freeman sexually harassed her and her female assistant on numerous occasions by making comments about their bodies.
The allegations of inappropriate behavior by Freeman are not limited to the confines of his company or to movie sets. Three entertainment reporters who spoke to CNN said Freeman made inappropriate remarks to them during press junkets.
A former female Revelations employee told CNN that 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 majority of the accusers said Freeman’s behavior made women feel uncomfortable at work.
Freeman, 80, is a famous American actor and producer. He won an Academy Award in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor with “Million Dollar Baby” and also won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performances.