The ‘Wall Street’ actor says he reached out to Deadline after learning that a former employee was planning to publicly accuse him of sexual misconduct, including masturbating in front of her more than 30 years ago.
Douglas told Deadline he deliberately wanted to “get ahead” of the story for the sake of his children.
“She claims that, One, I used colorful language in front of her, not at her, but that I used colorful language. Two, she claims that in conversations I had in front of her, on the phone, that I spoke raunchily, or dirtily with friends of mine, in private conversations
“I fired her eventually, for the work she was doing, but Three, she claims that I blackballed her from the industry and stopped her from getting another job. And then, Four, she claims that I masturbated in front of her.”
Specifically addressing the third accusation of “blackballing her”, he said it was “completely untrue”, stating: “She was a lady who was involved in development at my company, and we just didn’t have a good development record in the time she was there, so I just moved on. I never blackballed her.
Douglas’s decision to speak out comes following a wave of allegations against key figures in Hollywood, which started with a piece in the New York Times in which film mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of varying levels of sexual misconduct (Weinstein has denied all allegations of “non-consensual sex”).
Speaking about the #MeToo movement, which has gained prominence in the wake of the Weinstein accusations and aims to lend a voice to victims of sexual harassment and abuse, Douglas said: “I support the #MeToo movement with all my heart. I have always supported women, along the way.
“This is the kind of step that can set that movement back. Being accused, without a chance [to defend yourself] in court. To not even really have the information in front of you, to be able to argue or defend yourself. There is no due process, no chance of seeing evidence in front of me from my accuser. It worries me.
“I find this whole thing really irresponsible and it hurts people who are supportive of this movement and who believe in it. This is my own personal taste. I don’t live in Los Angeles. I hope this movement continues to grow, but that there is care shown in who is accused and how the accusation is handled.”