Footage of Morgan Freeman making inappropriate comments to female journalists is unearthed

Lowenna Waters
Monday 28 May 2018 14:00
news

Footage has been unearthed showing Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman making inappropriate comments to female journalists.

The archive footage has been released by Entertainment Tonight, in light of sexual assault allegations made by eight women after an investigation by CNN against Freeman, which he denies.

According to the investigation, the Oscar-winning actor allegedly behaved inappropriately on film sets and at his production company, and eight women have said they were targeted by Freeman's inappropriate behaviour.

In one of the Entertainment Tonight interviews, which was made in 2016, Freeman is interviewed by female journalist Ashley Crossan about his film London Has Fallen.

In the clip, Freeman asks her if she is married. When she replies "No", he says "Fool around with older guys? I'm just asking".

At the end of the interview, Crossan shakes Morgan's hand and says, "Pleasure to meet you", to which he replies, "Mine. Look at yourself".

In the second clip, from 2015, Entertainment Tonight correspondent Janet Mock met with Freeman to discuss his film Five flights up.

In the clip, Freeman quickly turns discussion towards Mock's outfit and skirt.

I don't know how you all manage to do that all the time. You got a dress halfway between your knee and your hips, and you sit down right across from me and cross your legs.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Mock, a best selling author, TV writer, and transgender activist, said:

This interaction is an exhibition of the casual nature at which men in positions of power believe that everything belongs to them, including women’s bodies as they’re merely just trying to do their job.

She continued:

For me, as a young woman of color, who is a reporter and a fan of popular culture, I was deeply disappointed that someone who was seen as America's grandfather was susceptible to such disturbing behavior and felt comfortable enough to do that as cameras were rolling, and that he could take claim of my body and look at it before even looking into my eyes.

Freeman is one of Hollywood's biggest stars, and has been made a household name through his work on films such as The Shawshank Redemption, Glory and Driving Miss Daisy.

In 2004, he won an Academy Award for supporting actor in Million Dollar Baby, and has also four other Oscars.

After the CNN report initially emerged, Freeman apologised "to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected" by his behaviour.

He has now issued a second statement regarding accusations of harassment that have been made against him.

I am devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye, by Thursday’s media reports.

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 humour.

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. And that is why I apologised Thursday and will continue to apologise to anyone I might have upset, however unintentionally.

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.

More: What are the #MeToo and Time's Up movements?

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