The Screen Actors Guild is considering stripping Morgan Freeman of the lifetime achievement award he accepted five months ago during the peak of Hollywood’s #MeToo and Time’s Up protests after eight women alleged sexual harassment against the veteran star.
In a CNN report published on Thursday, Freeman, 80, was accused of widespread impropriety and ‘unwanted touching’ by eight different women whose stories were corroborated by another eight people.
In response, Freeman apologized for making ‘anyone feel disrespected or uncomfortable’.
The first snub came from Vancouver transit system which dumped him as the voice.
Then came the more damaging revelation from SAG that it too was considering distancing itself from the star.
‘These are compelling and devastating allegations which are absolutely contrary to all the steps that we are taking to ensure a safe work environment for the professionals in this industry,’ a representative for the Guild told TMZ.
Freeman, one of Hollywood’s most popular actors who has commanded international affection for years, accepted the award in January.
He was welcomed to the stage by Rita Moreno, a long-time friend who he kissed on the mouth after walking to the stage.
Freeman used his speech to complain that the statue was ‘gender specific’.
It was an apparent extension of the complaints about gender inequality and sexism made throughout the night and throughout the entire awards season.
He accepted the award graciously, saying: ‘This is beyond honor, this is a place in history.’
Afterwards, he walked off stage with Moreno, he kissed her on the mouth again.
The SAG Awards featured a female-only line-up of presenters in a nod to the fervent #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
The allegations against Freeman are not on the same level of aggression as those against Harvey Weinstein.
Freeman’s accusers say he harassed them verbally by making consistent comments about their bodies or the way they dressed.
In one case, a young woman claims he lifted up her skirt repeatedly to see if she had underwear on while they worked together on the set of Going In Style in 2015.
Another says that he pressed his body against hers during a group photograph after earlier spending much of a party staring at her breasts.
Others, including female staffers from Revelations Entertainment, his production company, alleged that he routinely made inappropriate remarks to young female interns and that he was once seen massaging one while she sat awkwardly at her desk.
Freeman, in his apology, denied intentionally hurting any of the women.
He told DailyMail.com: ‘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.’
Rose McGowan, one of the first to speak out against Weinstein, reacted to the claims against Freeman on Twitter.
She said: ‘Hi everyone, I know your idols are falling, I know it hurts to be disappointed, but imagine if that person you thought you knew from his image sexually harassed you. ‘Stay the course, we will be better for this societally. The conversation must be had.’ McGowan added the hashtag ‘Morgan Freeman’.
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