What a weird sensation: I am no longer disappointed when famous men act like jerks. I’m just going to assume from now on that if someone is famous enough that I know who they are, they’re probably assholes.
The latest: Morgan Freeman. Holy crap, Morgan Freeman! The man with the golden voice, narrator of so many programs I’ve watched, gentle-souled star of so many movies…was just casually toxic around women.
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.
Of those 16, seven people described an environment at Revelations Entertainment that included allegations of harassment or inappropriate behavior by Freeman there, with one incident allegedly witnessed by Lori McCreary, Freeman’s co-founder in the enterprise, and another in which she was the target of demeaning comments by Freeman in a public setting. One of those seven people alleged that McCreary made a discriminatory remark regarding a female candidate for a job at the Producers Guild of America, where McCreary is co-president.
Four people who worked in production capacities on movie sets with Freeman over the last ten years described him as repeatedly behaving in ways that made women feel uncomfortable at work. Two, including the production assistant on “Going in Style” whose skirt he allegedly attempted to lift, said Freeman subjected them to unwanted touching. Three said he made public comments about women’s clothing or bodies. But each of them said they didn’t report Freeman’s behavior, with most saying it was because they feared for their jobs. Instead, some of the women — both on movie sets and at Revelations — said, they came up with ways to combat the alleged harassment on their own, such as by changing the way they dressed when they knew he would be around.
It’s a long and thorough account. From now on, his voice is going to sound less like honey and more like cloying, thick drool. I think — I hope — work is going to dry up for him now, although there seems to be no harassment so severe that the perpetrator can’t be plotting a comeback.
As for Tambor, the word has been going around for some time that he’s terrible to work with. It looks like most of the cast of Arrested Development are also kind of awful. In an interview in which Tambor was confronted with the facts of his ghastly, abusive treatment of Jessica Walter, the cast circled the wagons for him.
When Deb asked specifically about the Walter story and she tried to talk about it, Bateman, Cross, Hale and Arnett, between the four of them (though Arnett did the least and Bateman did the most by far), eventually intervened in all of the following ways: (1) said (jokingly?) that they’ve all done the same to her; (2) said all “families” have arguments; (3) joked about all the other terrible things they’ve done to each other; (4) pointed out that Tambor has already said he’s working on it; (5) said “difficult” people are part of the business; (6) said “atypical behavior” is part of people’s “process”; (7) said they’ve all lost their temper sometimes; (8) said expecting “normal” behavior means “not understand[ing] what happens on set”; (9) claimed to have “zero complaints” about working together; (10) called yelling at people “a wobbly route to [a] goal”; and (11) repeatedly emphasized context and everyone playing their role in conflict.
Through a good part of this, Walter was crying, as you can hear if you listen to the audio recording of this part of the interview. And at one point, as Bateman explains patiently that “certain people have certain processes,” Shawkat interjects: “But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.” In the audio, she seems even more irritated than these words make her sound, and he cuts her off anyway.
It’s a truly cringeworthy interview. A woman is so stressed out over her vicious treatment that she’s in tears, and all of her ‘friends’ are working so hard to excuse the abuse.