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Morgan Freeman Speaks Out After Inappropriate Behavior Allegations: 'I Did Not Assault Women'

Morgan Freeman Speaks Out After Inappropriate Behavior Allegations: 'I Did Not Assault Women'

Morgan Freeman is speaking out for a second time after he was accused of inappropriate behavior.

The 80-year-old actor issued a second statement after apologizing to “anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected” earlier this week.

“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,” Morgan said in his new statement.

He 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,” he added.

“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,” Morgan concluded.

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  • Canon Lyn

    I adore Morgan Freeman. He’s a great, legendary actor whose body of work is part of our history. He’s right that it seems he has not violently assaulted anyone, however, he needs to get that trying to lift a woman’s skirt, is assault, not flirting. It doesn’t make her at ease, it minimizes and humiliates her. Telling a pregnant woman you wish you had been there when she conceived, is not flirting, it’s sexual harassment, and does not make her at ease at all. It’s offensive. It’s vital that men learn to keep their hands to themselves and words non-sexual unless they are actively dating someone. Women who are doing their jobs do NOT need your sexual tension in their lives. Keep it to yourself. You don’t even need to bring up a woman’s looks or body unless you are dating her or she fully understands you are trying to date her and has expressed being open to that. Men need to grow up and realize women are not toys, and deserve respect.

  • Pat

    I believe in Due Process.! I will wait before I judge.

  • Jim S

    So what do you do if it doesn’t go before a judge, as this one won’t?

  • Jim S

    So what do you do if it doesn’t go before a judge, as this one won’t?

  • Jim S

    This is a fair statement and very balanced way of looking at it. I have been very frustrated with some metoo excesses (Aziz and Brokaw comes to mind), but here there seems to be a pattern with multiple people, so can’t say it is just one overly sensitive woman. But I also think these rise to the level of Weinstein or Schneiderman. What does this mean? I think this should be a teaching moment as opposed to complete demonization and forever casting as a rapist the way that was done to Ansari. This angle of being part of the same spectrum is causing many to lose faith that public justice is proportional. I think Matt Damon had the right approach but he was unfairly beaten up for it.

  • Jim S

    This is a fair statement and very balanced way of looking at it. I have been very frustrated with some metoo excesses (Aziz and Brokaw comes to mind), but here there seems to be a pattern with multiple people, so can’t say it is just one overly sensitive woman. But I also think these rise to the level of Weinstein or Schneiderman. What does this mean? I think this should be a teaching moment as opposed to complete demonization and forever casting as a rapist the way that was done to Ansari. This angle of being part of the same spectrum is causing many to lose faith that public justice is proportional. I think Matt Damon had the right approach but he was unfairly beaten up for it.

  • Pat

    The fundamental principles of Due Process should carry over to the court of public opinion. This is where most of these cases are tried.

  • Jim S

    In theory, but public opinion is a mob, not a law. If there is no due process (no trial, no investigation) the public will fill the blanks every time. We need some kind of tribunal to handle these cases before they go public. George Takei was just exonerated, let’s see if this exoneration reaches all the people that believed he was a predator. Probably not. But all the high profile metoo leaders, let’s see if they send a single tweet apologizing to what happened to him.i doubt they will, and this is a part of the metoo credibility gap.

  • Canon Lyn

    Thanks for your respect and calm conversation. You have a valid point as well that too much #metoo can indeed backlash on the problem because it’s difficult for people to process the magnitude of it. Just ONE woman proven to be lying diminishes the truth of all the others, and that’s disturbing. Also that proportion is an issue. Freeman and Weinstein are certainly not the same. It’d be like comparing a serial rapist to someone who stole your phone from your hand. Still, BOTH are indeed crimes, violating a person’s sense of safety, rights, and creating a need for justice. I think women are rightfully just tired of all the times men have taken these liberties, big and small, and it’s high time they tried to do something about it. It’s time it stops happening so there doesn’t NEED to be a #metoo movement.

  • Jim S

    Thank you for your measured response. I would like to offer you a caution. A lot of women WANT men to go for that kiss, to talk dirty, to flirt, and to use body language rather than ask “is it okay if I kiss you” or “is it okay if we have intercourse”. There is an issue here where #metoo is trying to standardize acceptable male behavior in the eyes of the feminists without standardizing female expectations from the general female population. Despite a lot of the outrage, most women from the older generation did not find any wrongdoing on Ansari’s part. Clear generational gap. So if women can’t agree if it was right or wrong, how can men know?

    I really believe the treatment of Ansari was a big deal and split the movement. Like you said, equivalent of stealing a phone (some people would argue he actually did nothing wrong under the circumstances), but ask yourself, what were the consequences to him? And were these consequences fair? And if not fair, who should right this? I know you said the small has to be tackled but surely there must be some minimal cutoff? Surely you heard the story about the elevator joke (lingerie floor) and surely this has no place under even the “small”?
    I believe women have to speak out that Ansari/Abby encounter was a learning moment for both genders, that we have to decide how to go from here, but that we should absolutely not demonize Ansarinnor treat him as a predator. I am afraid absent of this olive branch from women, there will be a permanent distrust of #metoo from men, and this does not help the movement.

  • Jim S

    Part 2, sorry, I felt compelled to write a second post on another angle. One must recognize that 90% of not more of initiation of both romantic and sexual contact comes from males, not 50/50. Besides the risk of rejection, there is a risk of a good faith initiation being misconstrued as harassment. So either women initiate 50% of the time and shares this risk (would make a lot of men happy), or leave the initiation onus on us, but then you have to afford us the opportunity to make good faith mistakes without being destroyed. Otherwise, romantic/sexual initiation will reduce and we will transition to a Tinder society. Is this in society’s best interest?

    Yet another angle, back to Ansari. The only reason Ansari paid dearly was his fame. Any man who is not famous risks NOTHING to behave like Ansari. No risk of public shaming. No risk of charges. No risk of losing employment. Wouldn’t even be a Title IX sanction. So what is the incentive to change? There is none for them. If the Ansari debate was nuanced and he wasn’t destroyed, we could have had an excellent conversation and come to a joint consensus. What happened instead, men (an older women) became so enraged by this event they are not listening nor accepting what women are saying at all, neither the good points nor the bad points. This encounter wasn’t a discussion, there was genuine hate, anger and distrust between the opposing sides. Can you honestly say this event led to anything but the two sides agreeing that they disagree? So what came out of it but distrusting each other that much more?

  • Canon Lyn

    None of my comments were about Ansari, but about situations where two people are not dating, often co-workers, etc. where liberties are taken with no indication that it’s desired, such as the case with so many of them. Ansari was on a date and absolutely should have used better judgment than assuming that on the first date, she was all about whatever he wanted. SHE should have said no and walked out the door as soon as she was uncomfortable. She did have some power in that situation, but he also should have backed off when she said to chill. I feel the wisest standard would be to wait and date before getting physical. Ansari would have avoided the whole scenario had he not expected her to have sex with him. That’s obvious. However, my statements are about all the other cases wherein women are assaulted or harassed. Like Freeman trying to lift a woman’s skirt. She was certainly not dating him or suggesting she wanted that, nor was the pregnant woman. Nor were most of those Cosby assaulted. Nor Weinstein’s victims. Women just doing their jobs, taking a meeting, living their lives and get harassed and assaulted. While Date Rape is no joke and a crime to be sure, to stop it both parties need to understand and communicate their expectations and agree to get to know each other first, and remember that No means No.

  • Jim S

    Before 2 people are dating, one has to initiate to get there. Liberties may be taken in some cases or good faith flirting attempts may cause offense. Let’s be honest, a woman can be offended by flirting by a guy she doesn’t like, but if a guy she likes did the exact same thing, she might not be offended. For the guy, we dont know yet which category we fall into until after you try. So where you say liberties taken with no indication it’s desired, a man has no way of knowing without trying. Now if the woman makes clear at this point it is not welcome, and the man stops, it should end there with no allegations of harassment. If he keeps going, it is indeed harassment.

    For Freeman, the lifting of the skirt crossed a line. All the other allegations did not, crude as they may have been.

    So with Ansari, do you agree then that he was treated unfairly by #metoo and that he and Abby should have shared the blame? Honest question, in your opinion, how should he have been treated? Should metoo leaders speak up and redeem him? Because honestly until this happens, there will not be a proper conversation about this.

    I agree Ansari was looking out for himself and not her in this encounter. Let’s be honest, she was doing the same for herself. She didn’t like the guy from the start but continued the date. Why? Because of his fame. When she realized he was using her for sex and there would be no relationship, that is when she lost interest in the encounter.

    With respect to dating before sex, I agree, worked well for me and my wife, but women are also a part of this Tinder culture, so joint blame on this front.

    I think we are aligned with Vosby, Weinstein, etc. Somewhatvaligned on Freeman, not sure if we are aligned with Aziz.

  • Canon Lyn

    Actually, a man does have a way of knowing. He can simply ask. He can ask her if there’s interest before he gets handsy or inappropriate in what he says. He can remember that she’s a person and not a sex toy. Again though, I’m not talking about those situations as much as I’m focusing on others. Was a much younger woman, a lesbian, interested in Cosby? No. Were a boatload of women interested in Weinstein? No. Granted, many let it go when he suddenly exposed himself because of their careers. Too many aren’t equipped to know how to navigate such a situation. Point is, it’s not about dating in these situations, it’s about assault and power and taking what they want with no regard for her. It’s a weird time now in the Tinder age. And I admit, men are getting a pretty confusing message. There’s no easy way to navigate women’s empowerment and owning their sexuality, simple hook-ups opposed to relationships, etc. and can be hard for a man to get that just because she may have sex with someone, it won’t necessarily be HIM she chooses. He still has to ask the question. For me, there’s a million things more interesting than sex so I’d wait a good long while and get to know someone well enough to know I’d want to be that level of intimate and be very clear about that up front, but casual sex isn’t interesting to me. Doesn’t mean it isn’t for someone else. Still, I’ve walked out the door many times when someone wasn’t respecting my words about it. My own safety and self respect was always more important. But, even if a woman stays, it isn’t an invitation until the question gets asked. If she’s on the job, that’s not an invitation. If she’s taking a meeting with you about her career, that’s not an invitation. That’s got to stop. Still, she’s got to get herself out of there as gracefully as possible. If he drugs her or won’t let her leave or threatens her livelihood, he needs to be in jail.