'It's not right to equate sexual assault with misplaced compliments' - Morgan Freeman hits back at sexual misconduct allegations
Morgan Freeman's lawyer is demanding a retraction from bosses at news organisation CNN over their article exposing his alleged sexual misconduct.
The 80-year-old star was accused of sexual misconduct in a CNN report on May 24 with accounts from 16 people, eight of whom were reportedly victims of his inappropriate behaviour, which included incidents on the sets of movies, on the promotional trail, and while working at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.
Freeman apologised after the allegations surfaced, insisting his comments and behaviour were never meant to offend.
"I am devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye, by Thursday's media reports," a statement read. "All victims of assault and harassment deserve to be heard. And we need to listen to them. But it is not right to equate horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humour..."
Freeman's lawyer is now seeking a retraction from editors, insisting the article has "inflicted serious injury" on the actor.
A letter from Robert M. Schwartz reads: "At a minimum, CNN immediately needs to issue a retraction and apologize to Mr. Freeman through the same channels, and with the same level of attention, that it used to unjustly attack him on May 24..."
In the letter, Schwartz also reveals he has begun an investigation into some of the accusations made in the article.
News bosses at CNN are standing firmly behind their reporting.
"The unfounded accusations made by Mr. Freeman's lawyer are disappointing and are difficult to reconcile with Mr. Freeman's own public statements in the aftermath of the story," a statement reads. "CNN stands by its reporting and will respond forcefully to any attempt by Mr. Freeman or his representatives to intimidate us from covering this important public issue."