Morgan Freeman’s lawyer is demanding CNN apologize and retract its story accusing the actor of sexually harassing women throughout his career.
In a letter sent to CNN president Jeff Zucker, attorney Robert M. Schwartz claimed the cable network’s May 24 article was used to “unjustly attack” the 80-year-old actor.
“At a minimum, CNN immediately needs to issue a retraction and apologize to Mr. Freeman through the same channels, and with the same level of attention, that it used to unjustly attack him on May 24,” the letter says.
In the 10-page document, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Schwartz goes on to say CNN’s article “was the product of malicious intent, falsehoods, sleight-of-hand, an absence of editorial control, and journalistic malpractice.”
Schwartz also alleged that one of the story’s authors, Chloe Melas, “baited and prodded” witnesses and victims to speak out against Freeman.
Melas said she was harassed by the actor during the press junket for the 2017 film Going in Style.
She was the only accuser cited by name in the article, but CNN spoke to 16 people for the the story — eight alleged victims and eight witnesses.
It didn’t long for CNN to fire back at Schwartz with a statement of its own, noting that Freeman initially apologized after the story was published.
“The unfounded accusations made by Mr. Freeman’s lawyer are disappointing and are difficult to reconcile with Mr. Freeman’s own public statements in the aftermath of the story,” a CNN spokesperson said Tuesday in a statement to the media.
“CNN stands by its reporting and will respond forcefully to any attempt by Mr. Freeman or his representatives to intimidate us from covering this important public issue.”