Morgan Freeman has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments and behaviour, according to an explosive new investigation.
Sixteen people -- eight of whom say they were victims -- have described to CNN instances of troubling and inappropriate behaviour between the 80-year-old actor and female members of production, employees at Revelations Entertainment (the production company the actor started in 1996 with business partner Lori McCreary) and reporters.
The television network quoted a young production assistant who says she was harassed over a period of months in 2015, while working alongside Freeman on the bank heist comedy Going in Style.
The woman, who was in her 20s at the time and has since opted out of the entertainment industry, detailed one incident in which the actor allegedly "kept trying to lift my skirt up" and asked "if I was wearing underwear." She went on to claim that he only stopped once co-star Alan Arkin intervened.
Another woman, described as a senior member of production staff who worked with him on Now You See Me in 2012, said women resorted to dressing conservatively when they knew Freeman would be around in the hopes of silencing inappropriate comments about their bodies and outfits.
"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.
Yet another former staffer recalled an incident in which Freeman "looked her up and down and asked: 'How do you feel about sexual harassment?'"
She said: "I was stunned. This is the person that I worked for, this is his company, I didn't expect it at all ... I said timidly, 'I love it' in a sarcastic way hoping to make light of the situation because I was so confused and then he turned to the guys on the crew ... and said, 'See guys, this is how you do it.'"
The Oscar winner has since issued an apology for making women feel "uneasy."
"Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy," he said in a statement released Thursday. "I apologise to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent."
More as we get it.