Visa cuts off Morgan Freeman commercials after harassment report

Lawrence Kim
May 26, 2018

Actor Morgan Freeman said on Friday any suggestion he assaulted women or created an unsafe workplace is false and apologized to anyone he may have upset after media reported that women have accused him of inappropriate behavior or harassment.

The actor today said he is "devastated" by the reports and believes his "life is at risk of being undermined" by the claims.

He said it was wrong to equate incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments and humour.

In all, 16 people spoke to CNN about Freeman as part of an investigation, eight of whom said they were victims of what some called harassment and others called inappropriate behavior by Freeman. And we need to listen to them.

In an initial statement on Thursday, Freeman said, "Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy". As a part of of that, I would often try to joke with and compliment women, in what I thought was a light-hearted and humorous way.

Freeman said in his statement "clearly I was not always coming across the way I intended".

"These are compelling and devastating allegations which are absolutely contrary to all the steps that we are taking to [ensure] a safe work environment for the professionals in this industry", it read. I did not offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex. "Any suggestion that I did so is completely false", Morgan concluded.

Earlier this week, multiple women who have worked with Freeman on some of his films have come forward to claim that he committed various sexually inappropriate acts against them, such as repeatedly trying to lift the skirt of one production assistant.

Chloe Melas, one of the accusers in CNN's original report on Freeman's alleged misconduct, presented footage of the Oscar victor making a comment to her about her pregnancy at a "Going In Style" press conference in 2015. CNN issued video of the actor telling a pregnant journalist, "Boy, do I wish I was there" and offering remarks on another journalist's body in front of the cameras.

Freeman won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in Million Dollar Baby in 2005 and has been nominated four more times, including as a leading actor in The Shawshank Redemption in 1995 and Driving Miss Daisy in 1989.

He has also been nominated for an Emmy for Revelations Entertainment's The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.

Aside from the Going in Style actor's pulled advertisement ventures, the Screen Actors Guild is now reviewing whether necessary action needs to be taken amid Freeman's allegations since he was the ceremony's Lifetime Achievement recipient in January.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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