Footage has surfaced of Morgan Freeman making inappropriate comments to female journalists during interviews
Last week, a report was published by CNN which detailed sexual assault allegations made by eight different women against actor Morgan Freeman.
The 80-year-old has enjoyed a long and successful career, starring in the likes of The Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby and Bruce Almighty. Just earlier this year, Freeman won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild, meaning the recent accusations have shrouded Freeman in a more sinister light.
The eight women who spoke out in the article published on Thursday claim to have been victim to Freeman's inappropriate behaviour on film sets, at his production company and during interviews over the years.
The investigation reportedly took six months, with various women coming forward to detail accounts of alleged harassment which ranged from unwanted touching to suggestive comments that made them feel uncomfortable.
The actor denied the allegations soon after the report came out, and has since issued an apology "to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected" by his behaviour. But in a recent turn of events, archived video footage of interviews between Freeman and female journalists have emerged, showing him making inappropriate comments to them.
ET released the footage in light of the recent allegations, including excerpts from one interview from 2016, where Freeman is interviewed by Ashley Crossan about his film London Has Fallen.
Freeman can be seen looking Crossan up and down with a smile, asking if she is married. After she replies "no", he says "Fool around with older guys? I'm just asking".
At the end of the interview, they shake hands and Crossan says "Pleasure to meet you" before walking off camera. Freeman's gaze follows the back of the journalist as he replies, "Mine. Look at yourself".
A second interview clip from 2015 shows ET correspondent Janet Mock talk with Freeman about his film Five Flights Up. He makes a comment about her appearance and choice of dress, saying:
"I don't know how you all manage to do that all the time," to which Mock laughs uncomfortably and asks him to clarify. "You got a dress halfway between your knee and your hips, and you sit down right across from me and cross your legs."
Since the footage emerged, Mock – who is a best-selling author, TV writer and transgender activist – spoke with ET about the incident.
"This interaction is an exhibition of the casual nature at which men in positions of power believe that everything belongs to them, including women’s bodies as they’re merely just trying to do their job," she said.
"For me, as a young woman of color, who is a reporter and a fan of popular culture, I was deeply disappointed that someone who was seen as America's grandfather was susceptible to such disturbing behaviour and felt comfortable enough to do that as cameras were rolling, and that he could take claim of my body and look at it before even looking into my eyes."
Freeman issued another statement saying he was "devastated" by the assertions from Thursday's article, though insisted he never meant to hurt or offend anyone.
"All victims of assault and harassment deserve to be heard," he went on. "And we need to listen to them. But it is not right to equate horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humour..."
The 80-year-old's lawyer is now demanding a retraction from editors and bosses at CNN by claiming the article has "inflicted serious injury" on Freeman and that it was "journalistic malpractice" to publish it.