Bad behavior on set is no longer being kept a secret.
Not one, not two, but EIGHT women have recently come forward (with another eight as witnesses) accusing yet another powerful man in the entertainment business of sexual misconduct and harassment and inappropriate behavior. And this time it is 80-year-old actor Morgan Freeman.
With a decades-long career, an academy award, multiple Golden Globes, and then some, Freeman is a force in the movie-making business. Movies including The Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby, Driving Miss Daisy, Glory, Lean on Me, and many other blockbusters have made Freeman a household name, a man to admire, and an accomplished actor both up-and-comers and seasoned pros longed to work alongside.
But for some, working with Freeman was nothing like they had expected it to be. As per CNN, a production assistant on set of 2015's Going in Style alleges, "Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching and comments about her figure and clothing on a near-daily basis. Freeman would rest his hand on her lower back or rub her lower back. In one incident, she said, Freeman 'kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear'."
And that's just one account. "A woman who was a senior member of the production staff of the movie Now You See Me told CNN that Freeman sexually harassed her and her female assistant on numerous occasions by making comments about their bodies."
The accusations go on with similar alleged scenarios and a despicable pattern of behavior which made women on sets and at press junkets feel uncomfortable, violated, angry, and afraid. Many feared losing their jobs, making coming forward a non-option.
As expected, Freeman recounts things differently. A statement released to US Weekly reads, "I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent." He went on to declare, "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 #MeToo movement continues to shine the light on such instances, and as women (and some men) come forward with their claims, the appropriate action can be taken. Or at the very least, they can get their stories out in the open. And when men like Freeman, who most would never consider someone who'd get lumped together with the worst of the worst become part of the growing list of predators, it sends shockwaves through our systems. Case in point - when his name was trending due to this news story, people thought the octogenarian had died! Sexual harassment surely wasn't the first thing to come to mind.
Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Tom Brokaw, Charlie Rose, James Franco, Steve Wynn, and the rest of the ever-growing group of alleged sexual harassers (and assaulters) now has another famous face – Morgan Freeman. Stay tuned to find out how this one turns out.
Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G, Understood.org, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, AMC Daycare, and more.
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