Morgan Freeman accused of trying to lift production assistant’s skirt, sexually harassing 8 other women - MRCAESAR.COM

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Thursday, 24 May 2018

Morgan Freeman accused of trying to lift production assistant’s skirt, sexually harassing 8 other women


NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

One accuser claims the iconic Oscar-winner tried to lift her skirt and asked if she was wearing underwear, according to a new report.
Nine women have accused legendary actor Morgan Freeman of crossing the line with varying degrees of sexual harassment, including one who claims the Oscar winner asked if she was wearing underwear and tried to lift her skirt
Eight of the women spoke to CNN as part of a month's long investigation. They said the 80-year-old star of "Driving Miss Daisy," "Shawshank Redemption" and "Million Dollar Baby" made unwanted advances ranging from sexually suggestive statements to unsolicited touching.
The behavior was so egregious in some cases, several staffers who worked with the iconic actor formed a "survivors club," CNN reported.
The 20-something production assistant involved in the alleged skirt-lifting incident said it happened in 2015, when she worked on "Going In Style," a crime comedy starring Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin.
"(He) kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear," the unidentified woman told CNN.
She said each time Freeman tried to tug at her clothing, she would move away.
"Alan [Arkin] made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn't know what to say," the woman said.
Freeman, 78 at the time, also rested his hand on the woman's lower back and rubbed it without consent, the woman said.
Another woman who worked on the set of "Now You See Me" in 2012 told CNN that Freeman repeatedly sexually harassed her and a female assistant.
"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," she said.
In a statement obtained by the Daily News after the CNN report went public, Freeman said he never intentionally harassed anyone.
"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," he said.
Beyond the eight women who spoke to CNN, longtime entertainment reporter Florence Anthony told The News on Thursday that she had a run-in with Freeman in 1987 that included a "sexually inappropriate" comment she never forgot.
Anthony said she was late to a restaurant interview with the actor regarding his role in the off-Broadway production of "Driving Miss Daisy," and that she was taken aback by his response when she explained she was recovering from surgery for ovarian cancer.
In a statement issued Thursday after the report was published, Freeman said he’s “not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone uneasy.” (Richard Shotwell/AP)
"You girls and your ovarian cancer. Didn't your mother tell you to keep your legs crossed and your dress down?" Freeman allegedly said, according to Anthony.
"He is horrible," Anthony, who freelances for The News, said Thursday.
A spokesman for Freeman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Anthony's recollection Thursday.
As part of its investigation, CNN spoke to yet another eight people who claimed they witnessed Freeman's alleged misconduct.
Some described the working environment at Freeman's production company, Revelations Entertainment, as "toxic."
They said the company's co-founder, Lori McCreary, witnessed at least one alleged incident and also was the target of demeaning comments by Freeman.
According to CNN, three entertainment reporters recounted problematic encounters with Freeman during publicity events for his movies.
One was CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas, who co-authored the CNN investigation.
Melas said she was subjected to inappropriate sexual comments from Freeman when she interviewed him more than a year ago at the press junket for "Going In Style."
She was six months pregnant at the time and said Freeman made multiple crass comments including one that was caught on tape.
"Boy, do I wish I was there," he said to Melas as he looked her up and down in a clip played on CNN's HLN.
"Right when I walked into the room, he began making sexually suggestive comments to me," Melas said during an HLN interview Thursday. "As an entertainment reporter for over a decade, it was unlike anything I truly have ever experienced."
After the encounter, Melas reported the incident to supervisors and started making calls to other women.
Chloe Melas, who co-authored the CNN investigation, is one of Morgan Freeman’s accusers. (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Tyra Martin, an entertainment reporter at Chicago's WGN-TV, told CNN that Freeman often flirted with her during interviews over the years, and she mostly considered it harmless, until he once took it too far.
She said the incident that gave her "pause" happened when she stood up in front of Freeman during one such interviews and adjusted her skirt.
"Oh, don't pull it down now," Freeman allegedly said, according to Martin.
In yet another alleged incident reported by CNN, a former staffer at Freeman's company said the actor once "looked (her) up and down" and asked, "How do you feel about sexual harassment?"
"I was stunned," the woman told CNN. "This is the person that I worked for, this is his company, I didn't expect it at all ... I said timidly, 'I love it' in a sarcastic way hoping to make light of the situation because I was so confused, and then he turned to the guys on the crew ... and said, 'See guys, this is how you do it.'"
One male former employee at Revelations said he witnessed some of the alleged behavior and thought of Freeman like a "creepy uncle".
"One time I witnessed Morgan walk up to an intern and start massaging her" shoulder, he told CNN. "The intern got visibly red and wiggled out of his grasp, it was awkward."
Revelations did not have a formal human resources department during at least some of the alleged misconduct, five sources told CNN.
This led staffers to form a "survivors club" that met outside the office, the outlet reported.
A production assistant who worked on "The Dark Knight" told CNN she witnessed inappropriate behavior by Freeman and heard complaints about it from her female co-workers.
She said the women felt they had little recourse considering his A-list status in Hollywood.
"Morgan did things in a way that an older more established person can get away with because they have that power," she told CNN. "They can't be replaced, but you can be replaced very easily."
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