Published May 29, 2018Last week, eight women accused Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment in a report by CNN, detailing incidents on movie sets, at his film company and during interviews. Now, the actor's lawyers are lashing out at the network for running the story.
TMZ reports that Freeman's legal team calls the network's report "the product of malicious intent, falsehoods, slight-of-hand, an absence of editorial control, and journalistic malpractice."
In a letter reportedly sent to the network, Freeman's lawyers claim the investigative report was informed by the bias of CNN reporter Chloe Melas.
Melas, who also co-authored the report, said Freeman had made comments about her being six months pregnant during an interview, repeatedly looking her up and down and saying more than once a variation of "I wish I was there," adding, "you are ripe."
In the report, CNN had noted that cameras recorded the first remark, but not the second. Corresponding footage has surfaced online, as you can see in the player below.
Freeman's lawyers allege in their letter that Melas' version of the events is false, adding that Freeman's "I wish I was there" remark was made in reference to a story Michael Cane had been telling about congratulating a woman on her pregnancy, when in fact she was not pregnant.
According to TMZ, the letter reads, "One cannot know if [Melas' version of events] was the product of something as innocuous as Ms. Melas having misheard what Mr. Freeman said, her runaway self-centeredness, or her search for a sexual harassment perpetrator to 'expose' so that she could grab attention and advance her career."
Freeman's lawyers also allege in the letter that the network gave Melas a "greenlight to use CNN's considerable resources to launch a year-long witch hunt against Mr. Freeman."
Additionally, the lawyers claim CNN misreported the accounts of two alleged victims cited in its report, demanding a retraction and apology.
Freeman issued a statement following CNN's report, stating, "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."