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Is it #TimesUp for Morgan Freeman?
Several women have accused the 80-year-old actor of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior, according to a new CNN report.
On the set of “Going In Style”, Freeman allegedly “kept trying to lift up the skirt” of a production assistant, asking if she was wearing underwear. This anonymous woman told CNN that Freeman made comments about her body and clothes, and subjected her to unwanted touching in 2015. His advances reportedly did not stop until co-star Alan Arkin told him off.
“Morgan got freaked out and didn't know what to say,” she recounted.
A senior member of the “Now You See Me” production staff recallled working with Freeman in 2012.
“He did comment on our bodies,” she said. “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.”
Former employees of Freeman's company Revelations Entertainment also came forward.
“[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,” said a former manager.
Characterizing the work environment as “toxic,” six former employees told CNN that they witnessed Freeman making sexual comments to women and engaging in unsolicited touching, in one instance; on two separate occasions, male witnesses recalled him asking women to twirl.
“[He’d say] things like ‘I’d like to have an hour with her’ or make vulgar and sexual comments about women,” said one former Revelations Entertainment employee. “It’s hard because on any set he is the most powerful person on it. It’s weird because you just don’t expect it from Morgan Freeman, someone who you respect.”
Three entertainment reporters told CNN that Freeman made inappropriate comments to them during press junkets. CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas co-authored the investigative report, recalling inappropriate remarks from more than a year ago.
Melas was six months pregnant at the time and alleges that Freeman, in a room full of people, shook her hand and, while not letting go, looked her up and down and commented some variation of “I wish I was there.”
Many of those who allegedly endured harassment at the hands of Freeman did not report his actions out of fear of losing their jobs, CNN explained.
“Had it been somebody else on the crew... I would feel comfortable reporting them because I wouldn't feel like my job would be in danger by reporting them, but if you report somebody like Morgan Freeman that the movie would lose a lot of money by replacing them or getting them in trouble, then you're the trouble maker and you'll get fired because you're just a PA,” said one production assistant who, while not having been targeted by Freeman herself, did report having witnessed the actor making inappropriate comments to female crew members on several occasions.
Freeman responded through a representative.
“Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent,” read a statment to The Hollywood Reporter.
Freeman’s step-granddaughter E’Dena Hines was killed in 2015, a crime her boyfriend Lamar Davenport was found guilty of earlier this month. Rumors that Freeman and Hines were romantically involved resurfaced after Davenport claimed during the trial that Hines admitted their relationship to him. Both Freeman and Hines denied the rumors in 2012, E! News reports.
[Photo: Morgan Freeman poses in the press room at the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. By Dan MacMedan/Getty Images]