A “devastated” Morgan Freeman on Friday vehemently denied creating unsafe work environments amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Freeman, 80, made the remarks in a second statement issued through his publicist after apologising last week to anyone who may have felt uncomfortable or disrespected by his actions.
That apology came in the wake of a CNN report in which eight women alleged sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour.
On Friday evening Freeman elaborated on his earlier apology in a new statement in which he said it was not right to equate “horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humor.”
The line will have resonated strongly, coming as it did on the day Harvey Weinstein was released on $1m bail in New York following his arrest in New York on charges of rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women.
Morgan’s full statement appears below:
“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.”
The statement continued: “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.”