Business Insider Edition

Morgan Freeman's lawyer demands that CNN retract its sexual harassment story on the actor

John Lynch , Business Insider US
 May 29, 2018, 06:13 PM

Getty/Alberto E. Rodriguez
  • An attorney for Morgan Freeman sent a letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker demanding the retraction of a CNN report in which eight women accused the actor of inappropriate behaviour, including sexual harassment.
  • In the letter, obtained by multiple outlets on Tuesday, Freeman's lawyer called the CNN report a "product of malicious intent, falsehoods, slight-of-hand [sic], an absence of editorial control, and journalistic malpractice."


A lawyer for Morgan Freeman is demanding the retraction of a CNN report published last week, in which eight women accused the actor of inappropriate behaviour, including sexual harassment.

Freeman's attorney, Robert M. Schwartz, sent a 10-page letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker saying that CNN's report "defamed" and "inflicted serious injury" on Freeman and his career. The letter was obtained by multiple outlets on Tuesday, including Variety and Deadline

"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," Schwartz wrote. 

Schwartz wrote that his law firm had begun an investigation into the report, which he called a "product of malicious intent, falsehoods, slight-of-hand [sic], an absence of editorial control, and journalistic malpractice."

The attorney wrote that CNN reporter Chloe Melas, who co-wrote the report and accused Freeman of making inappropriate comments about her appearance at a press junket last year, had "no reasonable basis" to interpret what Freeman said to her as harassment.

Melas said Freeman told her during a 2017 interview when she was six months pregnant, among other comments, that "you are ripe."

"Videotape confirms that his statement had nothing to do with [Melas] and was not harassing. And an independent third party, the Warner Bros. Human Resources Department, investigated her claim and concluded that it was not supported by the facts," Schwartz wrote. 

Among the seven other accusers in the report, an unnamed production assistant who worked on the set of the 2017 movie "Going in Style" said she experienced several months of sexual harassment from Freeman on the film's set, including unwanted touching and comments. The woman said Freeman "kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear."

"Ms Melas baited and prodded supposed 'witnesses' to say bad things about Mr Freeman and tried to get them to confirm her bias against him. Thus, no reader of the article can have any confidence that any of the anonymous sources, which make up the balance of CNN's article, can be relied upon at all," he continued.

CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Read the attorney's full letter at Deadline.

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