Morgan Freeman is once again speaking out following accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by multiple women.
The Oscar winner and Madam Secretary executive producer issued a second statement on Friday night, claiming to be “devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined” by a CNN report published on Thursday. His full statement, as published by our sister site Deadline, reads as follows:
“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.
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.”
As part of the aforementioned CNN investigation, reporters An Phung and Chloe Melas spoke with 16 people — eight of whom said they were victims of Freeman’s harassment, and eight who said they witnessed Freeman’s conduct but were not targets of it. In response, Freeman released an initial statement, saying it was “never his intent” to disrespect women.
Visa has since cut ties with Freeman, who was the voice of its ad campaigns. In addition, SAG-AFTRA is said to be reviewing what actions it will take after after presenting Freeman with a lifetime achievement award earlier this year.