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Thursday, May 31, 2018

#MeToo: Morgan Freeman is accused of sexual harassment

Por Nina

The wave of complaints of sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood does not stop. The protagonist in this case is Morgan Freeman. The American actor in his 80s has a bigger problem than his career. Eight women have complained on CNN that they were sexually abused or victims of inappropriate behavior on the part of the actor. Eight others acknowledged having witnessed his wrongdoing. Chloe Melas, co-author of the article that publishes the complaint, began to investigate the Oscar winner when she felt a victim of his behavior. In a press trip more than a year ago for the movie A Beat in Style, when Melas was six months pregnant, Freeman held her hand, looked her up and down and fixed his eyes on her belly, told her: "I wish I was there". That phrase ignited the alarm.

During the filming of that same movie, starring Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, a production assistant was the one who suffered harassment. Almost every day, the legendary actor made uncomfortable comments about her clothes, but on one occasion the situation went over and he tried to raise her skirt repeatedly while asking if she was wearing underwear. "Alan [Arkin] made a comment telling him to stop, Morgan was scared and did not know what to say," says the complainant in the report. Like them, there were other assistants who were prey to the actor. None had spoken until now for fear of losing their job. The actor's representative declined to comment while the investigation was under way, but once published, Freeman said: "Anybody who knows me or has worked with me knows that I am not someone who would intentionally offend or make someone feel uncomfortable. I apologize to anyone who has felt uncomfortable or disrespected. That was never my intention. "

The story comes from behind. A woman, member of the directorate of Now You See Me (2013), also denounced that the Million Dollar Baby Oscar winner sexually abused her and her assistant, to whom he constantly commented on their bodies on the set in full view of everyone, normalizing the violent situation. They came to change their way of dressing to try to avoid the looks and phrases of the actor; who for years has been an example for the African-American community in the United States and has a film career spanning almost five decades. The CNN article cites up to seven women who describe an environment of harassment and inappropriate behavior in their production company, Revelations Entertainment, which, according to the actor, had been created to promote black interpreters to their frustration at the lack of opportunities to them. However, several former workers of the production company have said that there was a "toxic" work environment, with harassment and inappropriate sexual comments. One of them relates: "Freeman approached my desk to say hello and stood there, staring at my breasts."

The current chorus of complaints is the most serious thing that has been said about the actor, but his past has not been free from controversy. In 2008 he suffered a car accident which resulted in serious injuries. He was traveling with a woman who was not his wife. The episode ended in the divorce of Freeman from who was his partner for 25 years, Myrna Colley-Lee. Then, a year later, there were rumors that he was in a relationship with his 27-year-old granddaughter then, with whom he is not linked with blood ties. Morgan Freeman joins the growing list of authors accused of abuse, harassment or sexual assault in recent months. As a result of the Weinstein case, the reports of women who report episodes of harassment, abuse or sexual aggression by powerful men have multiplied. Since October, when the Hollywood sexual abuse scandal erupted with the impressive accusations of harassment and rape against producer Harvey Weinstein, other public figures have been the target accusations encouraged by the emergence of movements such as #MeToo and Time's Up.

Hollywood tries to show an attitude of zero tolerance after the revelation of these scandals. The US union of actors, SAG, informed AFP that it is studying the withdrawal of an honorary award given to Freeman in January for his career, "after hearing these overwhelming and devastating statements." "Any accused person has the right to due process, but our point of departure is to believe in the brave voices that report incidents of harassment. Since Mr. Freeman recently received one of our union's most prestigious honors (...) we are reviewing what corrective actions can be taken at this time,"said a spokeswoman.