NEW YORK (AP) — Morgan Freeman says he did not assault women and that it’s not right to equate misplaced compliments or humor with horrific incidents of assault.
The Academy Award-winning actor made a second statement late Friday in response to a CNN report that multiple had women accused him of inappropriate behavior.
A production assistant said Freeman tried to lift her skirt and subjected her to unwanted touching and comments. Other women said Freeman commented about their bodies, or made them uncomfortable by staring at them.
Freeman said he tries to make people feel appreciated and at ease around him. He said he made light-hearted jokes and compliments to women.
The 80-year-old actor says that clearly wasn’t coming across the way he intended.
Read his statement in full:
“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.”
Associated Press contributed to this story.