Morgan Freeman is the latest entertainment figure accused of sexual harassment, and his handling of the situation says a lot about male misconduct in the workplace.
According to a CNN investigation, eight women have accused Morgan of inappropriate behavior while either on set or in some other work space.
In one 2015 incident, a production assistant on Going in Style said Morgan “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear.” She said she’d try to move away, but then Morgan would make another attempt. She continued, it wasn’t until Morgan’s co-star Alan Arkin told Morgan to stop that he ended his inappropriate behavior.
In another instance, a senior production staff member on the movie Now You See Me said Morgan made constant comments on women staff members’ 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.
Even women reporters recalled Morgan making inappropriate comments about them at press junkets.
Morgan responded to the allegations with a statement: “Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”
Soooo, you didn’t think trying to lift a woman’s skirt up would make them uncomfortable?
This proves Morgan is either really clueless or sexual harassment is so pervasive in the workplace that certain people don’t even think twice about it.
I’m going to go with the latter.
Hopefully, the stories of people speaking out will be a wakeup call for workplace culture. Without a conscious understanding of gender and power dynamics going on, future abusers could hit us with the “my bads” just like Morgan and sweep it under the rug.
If you want to read more witnesses accounts of Morgan’s alleged behavior — including allegations of uncomfortable staring, massages, and crude remarks — you can check it out here.