In total, 16 people spoke to CNN about Freeman, eight who claim to be victims of either sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior, and eight who said they witnessed Freeman’s alleged misconduct.
A young production assistant who worked on “Going in Style” — the 2017 comedy starring Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin — alleges Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching. She also claims that Freeman would comment on her figure and clothing on a regular basis, and that he would rest his hand on her lower back or rub her lower back. In one instance, she said Freeman “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear.” At one point, she recalled, “Alan made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.”
Freeman issued an apology about two hours after the CNN article was published.
“Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy,” Freeman said in a statement obtained by Variety. “I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”
Freeman’s alleged behavior extended beyond “Going in Style.” A female senior production staffer of Freeman’s 2013 film “Now You See Me” reported a similar pattern of behavior. She said Freeman sexually harassed her and other female assistants by commenting on their bodies.
“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,” she said.
The women accusing Freeman have worked with the now 80-year-old actor both on movie sets and at his production company, Revelations Entertainment. Each of the women said they didn’t report him, most citing that they feared for their jobs.
Freeman co-founded Revelations Entertainment with Lori McCreary in 1996. The company’s credits include “Invictus,” “Along Came a Spider,” and the CBS show “Madam Secretary.” Former staffers called the studio a “toxic” work environment. Six former staffers said they they witnessed Freeman’s actions, including sexual comments and an incident of “unsolicited touching.”
One female former employee said when she met Freeman for the first time on the set of “Through the Wormhole,” the actor looked her “up and down” before asking, “‘How do you feel about sexual harassment?'”
A female manager at Revelations alleged that Freeman would “come over to my desk to say hi and he’d just stand there and stare at me. He would stare at my breasts.”
She continued, “If I ever passed him, he would stare at me in an awkward way, would look me up and down, sometimes stopping and just staring. One time he stopped, looked me up and down as I walked into a room of people, and everyone burst out laughing. And I literally froze, feeling very uncomfortable and one of the people in the office said, ‘Don’t worry, that’s just Morgan.'”
A former male employee said Freeman behaved like a “creepy uncle.”
“One time I witnessed Morgan walk up to an intern and start massaging her” shoulder, he said. “The intern got visibly red and wiggled out of his grasp. It was awkward.” Another former employee said she witnessed the male employee tell several people about the occurrence.
Other male employees said Freeman would ask women to twirl. One twirl request came at Freeman’s 79th birthday party, according to two former staffers and a writer on “Madam Secretary.” Approximately 30 people were at the party, which was thrown by Revelations.
Freeman would go up to women and “stand maybe within an inch of their face and just look them up and down and not say anything, and then would move on to the next woman and he’d stand like within an inch of their face and look them up and down and not say anything, and it was really, really strange,” a former executive recalled. “It was really weird and he did it to every woman, but of course he didn’t do it to any of the men. He didn’t speak to any of the men.”
The “Madam Secretary” writer who was at the party said after the #MeToo movement began, writers on the show joked “that Morgan would be the next person to be called out.”
McCreary has also faced controversial comments from Freeman. At a Produced By conference in 2016, Freeman described McCreary’s outfit during their first meeting, saying, “She had on a dress cut to here.”
“She wants to be thought of as serious,” Freeman said of McCreary, who was on the panel. “But you can’t get away from the short dresses.”
Freeman appeared on the “Today” show days later, where host Savannah Guthrie brought up the situation and said some were “surprised” by the remarks he made on the panel, which was attended by about 400 people.
He replied, “It was just something I said in jest about when I first met her, it was more than 20 years ago. How is that news?”
A former Revelations executive said McCreary was visibly upset after the incident. “I tried to console her and she was clearly upset, and I think she was surprised and found it hurtful and embarrassing,” the former exec said. “She was devastated.”
Freeman currently narrates National Geographic’s documentary series, “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.” He also executive produces “Madam Secretary.” His upcoming projects include “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” “Angel Has Fallen,” and “Cold Warriors.”
National Geographic declined to comment on Freeman’s allegations.