Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman apologized Thursday after he was accused by eight women of harassment and inappropriate behavior in a published report.
“Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would willingly offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy,” Freeman said in a statement. “I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”
The mea culpa came several hours after a CNN report in which the women — backed up by eight additional witnesses — described “a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman on set, while promoting his movies and at his production company Revelations Entertainment.”
Among other things, Freeman allegedly subjected two women to “unwanted touching” and three said he made “public comments about women’s clothing or bodies.”
“But each of them said they didn’t report Freeman’s behavior, with most saying it was because they feared for their jobs,” CNN reported.
CNN said it also reached out to “dozens more people” who worked with Freeman and who said they never saw him misbehave and insisted he was “a consummate professional on set and in the office.”
Only two of the women accusing Freeman — including Chloe Melas, a co-author of the CNN article, who says she was harassed while interviewing the actor on a junket — were named. NBC has not verified the allegations against the actor.
Freeman, 80, made his mark in movies like “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Shawshank Redemption” and won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for “Million Dollar Baby.” He also made waves playing God in “Bruce Almighty.”
The iconic actor has been nominated four other times for an Oscar and is also famous for his voice-over work in the Oscar-winning documentaries “March of the Penguins” and “The Long Way Home.”
His distinctive voice can also be heard in Visa commercials and he was recently tapped to be the new voice of the Vancouver (Canada) TransLink metro system.