Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman has been accused of harassment or “inappropriate behavior” by eight different women, CNN reported today (May 24).
The women told CNN that they were victims of harassment by Freeman, which included sexual comments and unwanted touching. One of them was CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas, a co-author of the investigation, who said Freeman made inappropriate remarks to her when she interviewed him about his 2017 film Going in Style. (Eight other women said they were not victims but had witnessed Freeman engage in inappropriate behavior on film sets or during press junkets.)
A production assistant on Going in Style told CNN that Freeman repeatedly tried to lift up her skirt. Others said he often commented about their bodies to the point where they’d dress more modestly if they knew he was going to be around. Four women who worked on movie sets with Freeman said they felt uncomfortable working with him, but didn’t report his behavior out of fear for their jobs.
A production assistant on The Dark Knight said she witnessed Freeman make inappropriate comments to female crew members. “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.”
Freeman reportedly had been the subject of suspicions for months. Gossip tabloids have accused the actor of being in a sexual relationship with his step-granddaughter, E’Dena Hines, and that the two planned to wed. Both parties denied it. In 2015, Hines was stabbed to death by her boyfriend, Lamar Davenport, who alleged during his trial last month that Hines told him that Freeman engaged in a “sexually inappropriate” relationship with her.
Freeman, 80, has been nominated for five Academy Awards, winning once for Million Dollar Baby in 2004. His films have combined to gross over $4 billion. Last year, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the Screen Actors Guild.
CNN reported that Freeman’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment. They did provide this statement to Quartz: “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.”
The Shawshank Redemption star is one of a slew of high-profile actors, performers and filmmakers to be accused of various degrees of sexual misconduct since the Harvey Weinstein scandal last year. The list includes James Franco, Louis C.K., Dustin Hoffman, and many, many more.