Los Angeles, May 26: Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman, who was accused of sexual harassment by several women, has issued a longer statement in response to the allegations saying he "did not create unsafe work environments". The 80-year-old actor said he is "devastated" by the reports. "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. 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," he said in a statement.
The actor added, "I admit that I am someone who feels a need to try to make women — and men — feel appreciated and at ease around me. 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. Clearly, I was not always coming across the way I intended. And that is why I apologised Thursday and will continue to apologize to anyone I might have upset, however unintentionally."
Freeman said that he "did not create unsafe work environments. I did not assault women. I did not offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex. Any suggestion that I did so is completely false." The actor had apologised on Thursday after he was accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments and behaviour by eight women. According to an investigation by CNN, Freeman's alleged inappropriate behaviour occurred on-set with female members of the production staff, with employees at Revelations Entertainment (the production company the actor started in 1996 with business partner Lori McCreary) — and with reporters.