Morgan Freeman issues second apology
MORGAN Freeman has issued a second statement in response to sexual harassment allegations, claiming "I was not always coming across the way I intended".
The actor wrote in the statement that he is "devastated" that "80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye" after multiple women came forward with accusations that the actor made them feel uncomfortable with sexual advances.
He continued by stating, "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 humour."
Freeman claims he was only ever trying to make people "feel appreciated and at ease" around him with his jokes and comments.
He's standing by his initial apology but emphasises that he never compromised the safety of people he worked with, writing "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."
The Oscar-winning actor issued an initial apology on Thursday for making women feel "uneasy," following a CNN report in which eight women alleged that he sexually harassed them or made inappropriate remarks.
"Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy," Freeman said in a statement obtained by Variety.
"I apologise to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected - that was never my intent."
Eight women have accused Freeman of harassment and inappropriate behaviour, alleging he touched them inappropriately and made suggestive comments about their appearance, according to an explosive report by CNN.
The network interviewed 16 people who described a pattern of inappropriate behaviour by the 80-year-old star on set, while promoting his movies and at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.
Seven described an environment at the company that included alleged harassment or inappropriate behaviour - with one incident allegedly witnessed by Lori McCreary, his co-founder in the enterprise, and another in which he made demeaning comments at her in a public setting.
In one incident cited by CNN, a young production assistant who worked on Going In Style, a 2015 bank heist flick starring Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, said she was harassed for several months.
She alleged that Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching and comments about her figure and clothing almost every day and that he would place his hand on her lower back or rub her lower back.
In one case, she said, he "kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear," but he never succeeded in lifting it up because she would move away.
Eventually, she said, "Alan [Arkin] made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn't know what to say."
The Shawshank Redemption and Driving Miss Daisy actor's alleged inappropriate behaviour also took place on other movie sets, sources told CNN.
A woman who worked on the production staff of Now You See Me in 2012 said Freeman sexually harassed her and her female assistant multiple times.
"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," the woman said.
Three entertainment reporters also said Freeman made inappropriate remarks to them during press junkets, publicity events for reporters who cover new films.
One of them, CNN reporter Chloe Melas - who co-authored the network's expose - alleged that Freeman made inappropriate comments to her about her pregnancy when she was covering the release of Going in Style.
Melas, who was six months pregnant, said Freeman told her "I wish I was there" as he ogled her while cameras were recording. She said Freeman also told her: "You are ripe."
CNN reached out to Freeman's spokesman for comment and then, at his request, emailed him a list of the accusations against the actor.
But the spokesman did not respond to several follow-ups by email seeking comment on the accusations.
The Academy Award-winning actor is also known for his roles in Million Dollar Baby and Se7en. He also played Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight Trilogy.
In an unfortunate coincidence for TransLink, Vancouver's transit system, the company had just announced a day before it would feature Freeman's voice on its network.
Passengers would hear Freeman's distinctive voice at select SkyTrain stations to promote new credit card and mobile payments options on board some buses and trains.
But soon after the allegations were published, TransLink issued a statement saying they would be halting the rollout indefinitely, the Vancouver Sunreported.
"In light of information we've learned through news stories this morning of serious allegations against actor Morgan Freeman, TransLink has decided to pause his voice announcements as part of a VISA ad campaign on the transit system. We will be in touch with VISA to discuss further," it said.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission.