Morgan Freeman has issued a second statement about allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour made against him, saying he has been “devastated” by them.
The Hollywood actor was accused of behaving inappropriately to eight women across various work projects, following a CNN investigation published earlier this week.
After initially issuing a swift apology, Freeman has now given a more detailed response to the claims, stating his comments made to the women were intended as jokes.
He also insisted he did not “create unsafe work environments or assault women”.
In the lengthy statement issued by his spokesperson, Morgan said: “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 humor.”
He continued: “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 apologized Thursday and will continue to apologize 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.”
In CNN’s exclusive report, they spoke to 16 women - eight whom claimed to have been victims of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour, with the other eight alleging to be witnesses.
A production assistant who worked on ‘Going In Style’ in 2015 alleged Freeman touched her inappropriately and claimed he also tried to lift up her skirt.
Another woman alleged Freeman sexually harassed her on multiple occasions while working on 2012 film ‘Now You See Me’.
In his original statement, Freeman said: “Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy.
“I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”
After the allegations were published, it was revealed Freeman had been dropped as the voice of Vancouver’s TransLink transport system, pending further conversations.