CNN- A young production assistant thought she had landed the job of her dreams when, in the summer of 2015, she started work on “Going In Style,” a bank heist comedy starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin.
But the job quickly devolved into several months of harassment, she told CNN. She alleges that 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, she said.
In one incident, she said, Freeman “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear.” He never successfully lifted her skirt, she said — he would touch it and try to lift it, she would move away, and then he’d try again. Eventually, she said, “Alan [Arkin] made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.”
Freeman’s alleged inappropriate behavior was not limited to that one movie set, according to other sources who spoke to CNN. A woman who was a senior member of the production staff of the movie “Now You See Me” in 2012 told CNN that Freeman sexually harassed her and her female assistant on numerous occasions by making comments about their bodies.
“He did comment on our 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.
In all, 16 people spoke to CNN about Freeman as part of this investigation, eight of whom said they were victims of what some called harassment and others called inappropriate behavior by Freeman. Eight said they witnessed Freeman’s alleged conduct. These 16 people together described a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman on set, while promoting his movies and at his production company Revelations Entertainment.
Ahhhhh this one hurts. Morgan Freeman is (was) the actor that most closely embodied God. When he played God in Bruce Almighty, he solidified the image I have in my head for the man upstairs. His career in movies is remarkable. His voice is like the first draw of a perfectly-rolled joint, easing you into your couch and letting you think that life is easy. He felt like the classiest, most dignified man alive. And now, poof. Gone. Turns out, he’s not the God we thought he was.
At this point, I’m living under the assumption that all my heroes in show business are going to be outed for sexual misconduct. When you assume the worst, you’re not as disappointed when it happens. Still, it felt like the revelations had slowed; that perhaps we had weathered the storm, that the worst was over, that all the bad guys had been outed.
Nope. Today, Morgan Freeman. Red from Shawshank. Fox in the Dark Knight trilogy. The President in Deep Impact. An IMDB page longer than a CVS receipt. Done and dusted, reputation ruined. Right? Maybe I’m overreacting, but I would assume that his legacy is crushed because of this? Will history forgive these men? Does their body of work stand apart from allegations against them?
It’s sad, but these lessons were necessary. We are living in a different time. Power and respect do not grant you unmitigated consent. As someone trying to make it in this field, I’m grateful to the courageous women who have come forward, reinforced these lessons, and let us know that this type of behavior must never happen again.