The actor was accused by eight women of sexual misconduct in a story published by the news organisation last week
Morgan Freeman’s legal team want CNN‘s report on sexual misconduct allegations against the actor to be retracted.
The story, which was published last week (May 24), features claims from eight women who say the star touched them without their consent and made comments about their figures. Freeman has issued two statements regarding the allegations. In the first, he apologised to “anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected”, adding “that was never my intent.”
In the second, he said he was “devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined in the blink of an eye” by the reports. “I admit that I am someone who feels a need to try to make women – and men – feel appreciated and at ease around me,” he added. “As a part of that, I would often try to joke with and compliment women, in what I thought was a light-hearted and humorous way.” He also stated that he “did not create unsafe work environments”, “assault women” or “offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex.”
In a 10-page legal letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Freeman’s lawyers claim the reports have defamed and “inflicted serious injury” on the actor’s career. “At a minimum, CNN immediately needs to issue a retraction and apologise to Mr Freeman through the same channels, and with the same level of attention, that it used to unjustly attack him on May 24,” attorney Robert M. Schwartz wrote. “CNN also needs to retract the portions of the story that concern Lori McCreary and apologise to her for defaming and injuring her.”
The actor’s lawyers said they are investigating the story and shared some of their findings already They said CNN reporter Chloe Melas “had no reasonable basis” to interpret Freeman’s comments towards her as harassment. The star is said to have looked up and down at Melas’ pregnant body and said “I wish I was there.” The letter notes Warner Bros HR department investigated the claim and decided it was not supported by the facts.
Freeman’s lawyers also said a second woman, Tyra Martin, had gone on record twice since the reports were published to claim she was misrepresented and refute that Freeman harassed her. His legal team also accused Melas of “baiting witnesses” to provide negative comment on the actor.
CNN said: “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. 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.”