Morgan Freeman responds to allegations of sexual harassment
Yesterday, on Thursday May 24th, CNN published an article disclosing that actor Morgan Freeman had been accused of inappropriate behavior and harassment by eight different women. 16 people in total came forward to discuss incidents they had either seen or been involved in, with many of them referencing incidents that stretch back at least 10 years.
One woman described the 80-year-old actor's frequent attempts to lift up her skirt on the set of Going In Style, saying that he only stopped when fellow actor, Alan Arkin, asked him to back off. Another woman who worked as a senior member of production staff on Now You See Me said that both she and female co-worker were harassed by Freeman as he kept making inappropriate comments about them.
"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.
Following the accusations, Freeman has come forward to offer a statement about his conduct.
"Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy," he said. "I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent."
However, his claim that he is not normally one to cause offense contradicts some statements made by his accusers. One former female coworker claimed 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", and, when it happened in front of other people, she was told that was how he always behaved:
"One time he stopped, looked me up and down as I walked into a room of people, and everyone burst out laughing. And I literally froze feeling very uncomfortable and one of the people in the office said, 'Don't worry, that's just Morgan.'"
What's more, after everything that has happened in the past eight months or so since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, people have become tired of hearing the same old excuses being rolled out by men in positions of power in Hollywood.
Meanwhile, others are upset that Freeman will most likely be exonerated by his fans for offering a simple, "my bad", while behavior like his continues to harm and upset millions of women around the world.
Of course, though, some people took his words at face value, and believed that his apology was enough.
As of yet, it does not appear that any criminal charges will be brought against Freeman. Harvey Weinstein, on the other hand, is expected to hand himself into police in New York today, at which point he will purportedly be met with rape charges in accordance with claims from several dozen women he abused.
Regardless of how serious we may or may not perceive Freeman's actions to be, it is obvious that there is still a toxic culture of sexual abuse and harassment present in Hollywood's elite circles (and, indeed, in other workplaces across the globe), and that such behavior needs to be stamped out immediately.