Morgan Freeman released a second statement in which he defends the fact that he “did not assault women” after being accused of se*ual harassment by eight women on Thursday.
The famed actor began his statement by saying, “I am devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye, by Thursday’s media reports. 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 se*ual assault with misplaced compliments or humor.”
Freeman then admitted to making some people feel uncomfortable throughout his career but didn’t intend to offend and said, “I admit that I am someone who feels a need to try to make women-and men-feel appreciated and at ease around me. As a part of that, I would often try to joke with and compliment women, in what I thought was a light-hearted and humorous way.”
The eight women told CNN in a detailed article that Freeman made suggestive comments about their appearance and inappropriately touched them.
A young production assistant told the outlet that Freeman harassed her for several months while working on the 2015 set of “Going In Style.” She claimed that Freeman made comments about her body almost every day and would rub her lower back.
“[He] kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear,” she claimed, adding Freeman’s co-star Alan Arkin “made a comment telling him to stop.”
“Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say,” she alleged.
The article’s co-author and sole accuser who went on the record, Chloe Melas, alleged that Freeman harassed her when she interviewed him for CNN at a press junket for the movie “Going in Style.”
Melas, who was pregnant at the time, said upon meeting Freeman he looked her up-and-down and said a “Boy do I wish I was there.” The remark was caught on camera but the tape was not rolling when Freeman allegedly also told her, “You are ripe.”
The actor said of the allegations in his statement, “Clearly, I was not always coming across the way I intended. And that is why I apologized Thursday and will continue to apologize to anyone I might have upset, however unintentionally.”
Finally, Freeman defended himself and stated, “But 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 s*x. Any suggestion that I did so is completely false.”
Following the allegations, Freeman has been dropped by VISA as a spokesperson and Vancouver’s transit system, TransLink, said they were “pausing” the actor’s “voice announcements as part of a VISA ad campaign on the transit system,” Deadline reported.