I recently wrote about the disgraced movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein. The revelation in October 2017 of years of corrupt, sexually abusive behavior was the impetus of the #MeToo movement.
The closet door blew off the hinges and women with horrific tales of abuse and rape came tumbling out.
At long last, Harvey Weinstein may be facing arrest, as the New York Police Department are prepared to act on orders to move in and arrest him, once all the loose ends for the case are tied up.
If even a fraction of the accusations uttered against Weinstein are true, he should have been locked up, long ago.
Nobody is going to step up and call this man “misunderstood.” He’s the worst kind of predator.
In fact, along with the news of Weinstein’s impending arrest, today’s news suggests charges against him may be expanded to include stalking.
If one bright spot can be gleaned from the Weinstein debacle, it is that victims of sexual abuse – men, as well as women – have felt empowered to come out and tell their stories.
What may not have been foreseen is the reach this movement would have, or the names brought to the surface.
So while it may be necessary and a good thing, there are going to be those inevitable letdowns, when you hear someone whose career you deeply respected is among those outed for despicable behavior.
If I was participating in a pool to guess the next named workplace cad, Morgan Freeman would not be the name I picked.
In a nightmarish CNN report, a number of women accuse the accomplished actor of foul behavior.
One young production assistant told of her encounters with Freeman in 2015, while working on the picture, “Going in Style.” Besides Freeman, the film also starred veteran actors, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin.
It should have been a wonderful opportunity for the young woman. That wasn’t how things unfolded.
But the job quickly devolved into several months of harassment, she told CNN. She alleges that Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching and comments about her figure and clothing on a near-daily basis. Freeman would rest his hand on her lower back or rub her lower back, she said.
In one incident, she said, Freeman “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear.” He never successfully lifted her skirt, she said — he would touch it and try to lift it, she would move away, and then he’d try again. Eventually, she said, “Alan [Arkin] made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn’t know what to say.”
Back in 2012, on the set of “Now You See Me,” a senior member of the production staff said Freeman would subject she and other women to comments about their bodies that made them uncomfortable.
“He did comment on our bodies… We knew that if he was coming by … not to wear any top that would show our breasts, not to wear anything that would show our bottoms, meaning not wearing clothes that [were] fitted,” she said.
In all, 16 people spoke to CNN about Freeman as part of this investigation, eight of whom said they were victims of what some called harassment and others called inappropriate behavior by Freeman. Eight said they witnessed Freeman’s alleged conduct. These 16 people together described a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman on set, while promoting his movies and at his production company Revelations Entertainment.
After the CNN story hit, Freeman issued a statement.
“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.”
An interesting twist to all the stories emerging about Freeman at this time would be that of his female business partner, Lori McCreary.
The two partnered in founding Revelations Entertainment in 1996. They formed the company to create more choice roles for people of color, as well as to shed light on issues they felt needed more exposure, such as stem cell research.
In what might be a case of Stockholm Syndrome, some of those who spoke with CNN reported seeing McCreary subjected to abuse from Freeman, as well. Why would she put up with it for over two decades?
Maybe because she has her own demons to work through.
Publicly, McCreary champions the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Two days before January’s Screen Actors Guild awards, at which Freeman accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award, McCreary released a statement on behalf of the Producers Guild of America (PGA), to say that its board ratified new anti-sexual harassment guidelines for its members. “The PGA is indebted to Time’s Up as a resource in creating our protocols,” she said in a press release issued with her co-president Gary Lucchesi, referring to the initiative aimed at fighting harassment and discrimination against women.
Yet the former Revelations employee who said Freeman asked her how she felt about sexual harassment also alleged that on a phone call with a member of PGA, McCreary said of a candidate vying for a position at PGA East, “she’ll never be able to do a good job, she has a family.”
There are a lot of women who have proven themselves in the workforce, while also balancing family life. If she indeed did make that comment, she’s as oppressive as the men in the industry who are being charged with obstructing working women, in whatever manner.
Two former senior level Revelations employees said McCreary would openly mock women who had to leave work early for family commitments and school functions. McCreary also allegedly said that some employees couldn’t handle big workloads because they had to “run home” to their families and therefore couldn’t stay late at work, according to one of the sources. She openly advocated for work-life balance, that source said, but she would make “snide” remarks to those who left work early.
When contacted, a spokesperson for the PGA said that the comments attributed to McCreary are against their policy, but that after examining the allegations, they found them to be meritless.
Does that mean she didn’t say them?
No. It just means they don’t have any proof she said those things. Maybe she didn’t.
Either way, there’s so much to this story, as it seems there are with every big name that has emerged from this morass. I’ve only touched just the briefest overview of what has come out.
I honestly don’t want to be let down, anymore. I don’t want to hear another report of some Hollywood hero or media giant being a bad person, behind the scenes.
With equal honesty, I can see that if there are any more we haven’t heard about, they need to be outed. It’s the only way to clean up these institutions.