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New Orleans Movies

Morgan Freeman accused of pattern of inappropriate behavior toward women: report

Updated May 24, 2018 at 12:15 PM; Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:02 PM

Actor Morgan Freeman attends AFI's 50th Anniversary Gala at The Library of Congress on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Washington. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP) (Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP)

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By Mike Scott

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman has been accused of a pattern of inappropriate behavior toward women -- including on the set of the New Orleans-shot film "Now You See Me" -- by eight people, CNN reported Thursday (May 24). Two of the eight said Freeman engaged in unwanted touching, while the others described verbal harassment by the actor.

Only two of Freeman's accusers allowed their names to be used.

Shortly after the CNN story broke, Freeman issued a statement to Variety offering an apology to anyone he might have made feel uncomfortable. "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 statement read. "I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected -- that was never my intent."

One of the 80-year-old actor's unnamed accusers was reportedly a senior member of the production staff of the New Orleans-shot "Now You See Me." She said Freeman made numerous comments about her body and about that of one of her female assistants.

"He did comment on our bodies," she told CNN. "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."

In another case, a young production assistant on the 2017 comedy "Going in Style" said Freeman "subjected her to unwanted touching and comments about her figure and clothing on a near-daily basis," according to the CNN report. That included repeated instances in which he would rest his hand on her back or rub her back, she said.

At one point, Freeman allegedly tried to lift her skirt and asked whether she was wearing underwear. Actor Alan Arkin, one of Freeman's co-stars in the film, reportedly then stepped and told Freeman to stop. "Morgan got freaked out and didn't know what to say," she told CNN.

A representative for Arkin said he was unavailable for comment.

Others described a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman while at his production company, Revelations Entertainment. In addition, three entertainment reporters said he made questionable remarks to them during press events.

One of them, Chloe Morales started an investigation of Freeman after an encounter with him, resulting in Thursday's CNN report.

Freeman is only the latest prominent figure to become caught up in the #MeToo movement, which began in October with an investigative report by The New York Times alleging decades of inappropriate -- and perhaps even criminal -- behavior by former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Since then, dozens of men in entertainment, sports and media have been accused as those industries grapple with what has been described as a widespread culture of abuse.

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