Actor Morgan Freeman released a new statement on Friday night in light of the multiple sexual harassment allegations against him, denying any sort of inappropriate behavior on his behalf.
In the statement from Freeman, the eighty-year-old actor vehemently denies creating an unsafe work environment for women or conducting any sort of sexual assault against those women that have come forward. "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 sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humor," the statement began. "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. Clearly I was not always coming across the way I intended."
While acknowledging that his comments were inappropriate -- although insisting they were not meant to be as such -- Freeman stressed that he never created an unsafe environment nor did he ever assault women. "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 sex. Any suggestion that I did so is completely false."
The actor's statement comes after CNN spoke to 16 parties that were either subjected to Freeman's behavior or witnessed his alleged misconduct while on movie sets, at media junkets or while working with his production company, Revelations Entertainment. Of those 16 that openly spoke with CNN, eight were said to be women that experienced misconduct on Freeman's behalf, whether through inappropriate comments concerning their outfits or bodies, or inappropriate touching without permission. Since the allegations have been revealed, Visa has opted to pull the commercials featuring the actor, while the Screen Actors Guild is reportedly considering revoking the actor's prestigious Life Achievement Award, which it presented to Freeman back in January.
(via USA Today)