Morgan Freeman is one of the most beloved actors of modern times. He has appeared in 119 films and TV shows to date.
His films include some of the best ever made: Seven, Shawshank Redemption and Driving Miss Daisy, to name but a few.
He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (2004) and has received numerous other awards.
His off-screen persona was, until last Friday, as impeccable as his onscreen performances. So well-liked and soothing was his voice that he had even become a highly sought-after voice for various advertisements and documentaries.
To the whole world, Morgan Freeman was on top of the world. That was until last Friday.
Just as the news broke that disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein had been charged with rape and sexual abuse, a story was published by CNN about alleged instances of sexual harassment involving Freeman.
The accusations against Weinstein brought shock around the world because we finally got to see behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to what really is going on. However, he was not a particularly well-liked character. The accusations against Freeman, on the other hand, will create a deeper shock as he was such a popular personality.
What are the accusations?
The news network CNN published a story on 25th of May entitled “Women accuse Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior, harassment.”
Their report gives details of 16 women who went on record regarding their experience working with Freeman. It also notes that there were many more women who were afraid to come forward for fear of repercussions.
One account comes from a production assistant who was assigned to work on “Going In Style” (2017). The assistant claims that filming turned into an ordeal of sexual harassment that involved Freeman repeatedly making sexual comments and rubbing her back.
Her account even details how Freeman’s behavior disrupted the atmosphere on set after fellow actor Alan Arkin told him to stop.
Other women have also come forward confirming that this pattern of behavior was not just limited to one person and one film set. Each of the other 15 women has accused Freeman of making sexual comments or touching them in an inappropriate fashion.
‘I did not assault women’
Soon after the revelations broke, Freeman released a statement saying “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.”
Sound familiar? If it does that is because this is almost word for word the same statement released by fellow accused Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman after they were both accused.
Could these very familiar sounding statements be a reflection of the growing lack of originally in Hollywood? Couldn’t these stars just be a little more honest and give their account of what happened?
When accused, comedian Louis C.K at last had the decency to own up and confirm that the accounts were true and apologize for his behavior. Though this cannot undo the harm and suffering that his actions caused, it at least gave some vindication to the victims for showing the strength to come forward.
What’s next for Freeman?
Universal public elation greeted the news that Harvey Weinstein had at last been charged. I have to confess to being a little bewildered that it has taken so long, especially given the 40+ victims who have already come forward.
Several times over the last few month I have found myself doing an internet search to find out if he had been charged yet. While there is no news except ongoing police investigations into the allegation against Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, and the many other accused Hollywood industry insiders, there are a lot of indications that show us what lies ahead for Freeman.
Bye bye movie sets
The high profile events following the accusations against Kevin Spacey included him being completely removed from the Ridley Scott film “All the Money in the World”. Despite the fact that the film was ready for release, Scott opted to reshoot Spacey’s scenes with actor Christopher Plummer instead.
At the same time, every film and TV show, including the award-winning series House of Cards, dropped Spacey like a hot potato. This has been the reaction against all the accused so far.
With stars like Spacey now being described as ‘toxic, there is little chance we will be seeing them again onscreen any time soon.
While anyone who has seen the video of Harvey Weinstein being publically assaulted in the street in Las Angeles wouldn’t exactly blame these accused stars, every one of them has gone to ground since the stories regarding their behavior broke.
Both Weinstein and Spacey have reportedly checked into various treatment programs. Whether or not this is to genuinely seek help or to serve as a little positive public relations exercise we just don’t know. What is clear is that the vast pool or frustration and anger that these events have created was led to the accused choosing to stay out of the limelight.
While the kinds of details coming out have rightly horrified people around the globe, it must be remembered that in the United States, a person is innocent until proven guilty.
It is for this reason that thorough police investigations that allow the guilt to be tried in courts of law are so essential. As I have already mentioned, sometimes these investigations are frustratingly slow. But nonetheless, they are the only way for justice to be served.
Thankfully, Harvey Weinstein has now been charged and will be finally have to answer for his crimes. Though he still denies the charges, it is unimaginable how his defense will convince the jury that this is all just one big witch hunt.
Their reasons? – Presumably to get their hands on his money or to achieve fame (despite the fact that most have already achieved both).
Best of luck with that one Harvey. We are all looking forward to your sentencing.
With investigations ongoing, it is hard to say how many of the accused will actually be charged.
We already know one case already won’t make it to court. Police found insufficient evidence to charge director Wood Allen after his daughter accused him of molestation. However, this was a case of one individual’s word against another.
In the majority of the most recent cases, these individuals have been accused by multiple people. This will surely be enough to convince a jury of a pattern of unlawful behavior that warrants a conviction.
Just don’t expect to see Morgan Freeman for a while
How the film industry and public react to the revelations of Morgan Freeman’s alleged sexual misconduct is yet to be seen.
As I have pointed out, if history is anything to go by it is likely that he will be taking a break from our screens and not appearing in public very much.
Whether or not there is enough evidence to charge him of wrongdoing is another matter. Let’s just wait and see how things pan out.
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