Morgan Freeman issued an apology Thursday after eight women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and other inappropriate behavior.
“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 80-year-old actor said in a statement . “I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”
Freeman’s apology came after CNN on Thursday published an explosive investigation into a number of allegations against the Oscar winner.
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The cable network spoke with 16 people — eight witnesses and eight alleged victims, including CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas — who co-authored the report.
The women accused Freeman of misconduct on movie sets, at press junkets and at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.
In one incident, a production assistant who worked on the 2017 comedy Going in Style, which starred Freeman, Michael Cain and Alan Arkin, said she was harassed for months starting in the summer of 2015.
She alleged that Freeman touched her inappropriately and made inappropriate comments about her figure and clothing.
He “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear,” She told CNN. But said Freeman never succeeded in lifting her skirt because she would always move away.
“Alan [Arkin] made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say,” she said.
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Others described a toxic environment at Revelations Entertainment, where co-founder Lori McCreary allegedly witnessed one incident. The article also accused McCreary of mocking women who had to “run home” to their families and were unable to stay late for work.
CNN said a spokesperson for McCreary did not respond to “repeated follow-up requests for comment regarding the allegations” against her.
The network launched its investigation after entertainment reporter Melas said she was harassed by Freeman last year during the press junket for Going in Style.
Press junkets are publicity events where entertainment journalists interview actors, producers, writers and directors about their latest projects.
Melas said she was six months pregnant when she arrived to interview Freeman and he told her, “I wish I was there” and “you are ripe.”
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She reported the incident to CNN HR personnel, who then contacted Warner Bros., the distributor of the film.
A portion of her interaction with Freeman was recorded, but Warner Bros. said it could not confirm her account because “only one of Freeman’s remarks was on video.”
In addition to acting and co-founding Revelations, Freeman is an executive producer on the CBS series Madam Secretary and does voiceover work on movies including March of the Penguins.
The allegations against the veteran Hollywood star follow a string of recent sexual misconduct complaints against other well-known entertainment figures, including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey, chef and former The Chew co-host Mario Batali, R&B singer R. Kelly and former PBS host Tavis Smiley.