Morgan Freeman says sorry
Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman on Thursday apologised to anyone who may have felt "uncomfortable or disrespected" by his behaviour after CNN reported that multiple women have accused the A-list actor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour on movie sets and in other professional settings.
"Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy," the actor, now 80, said in a statement sent to The Associated Press by his publicist, Stan Rosenfield. "I apologise to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected that was never my intent."
Freeman won the 2005 Oscar for best supporting actor for Million Dollar Baby. He was nominated four other times, including for Driving Miss Daisy and The Shawshank Redemption, and is renowned for his prolific voice-over work.
Earlier this year, he was honoured by the Screen Actors Guild and the American of Television and Radio Artists with a lifetime achievement award. In a statement to The Associated Press, the organisation, which represents actors, journalists and others, called the allegations "compelling and devastating" and contrary to its attempts to make sure working environments are safe in the industry.
"Any accused person has the right to due process, but it is our starting point to believe the courageous voices who come forward to report incidents of harassment," the statement read. "Given Mr Freeman recently received one of our union's most prestigious honours recognising his body of work, we are therefore reviewing what corrective actions may be warranted at this time."
The CNN report includes the account of a production assistant on the 2017 heist film Going In Style, who detailed an incident in which the actor repeatedly tried to lift up her skirt and asked if she was wearing underwear. She alleged that Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching and comments on a near-daily basis on the film.
Several women alleged that he made frequent comments about their bodies or would stare at them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.