Morgan Freeman was seen for the first time since allegations of sexual harassment against him were reported last week.
The 80-year-old Freeman was seen in Savannah, Georgia, heading towards the set of his new film, The Poison Rose with John Travolta. He was accompanied by his bodyguard and girlfriend, according to the Daily Mail.
On Thursday, CNN reported the findings of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations, with eight women saying they were harassed by Freeman during film productions, during interviews or at press events. Freeman denied the allegations.
"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," a representative for Freeman told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
On Friday night, Freeman issued a longer statement, in which he insisted he has never assaulted a woman. He said he was "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 humor," Freeman said in a statement issued by his representative. "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."
On May 25, CNN reported that eight women said they were personally victims of harassment or inappropriate behavior from Freeman. In total, 16 people were interviews, describing a "pattern of inappropriate behavior" by Freeman on film sets, promoting his movies or at the offices of his production company Revelations Entertainment.
According to a production assistant, Freeman "kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear" during filming of Going in Style in 2015. At one point, co-star Alan Arkin "made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn't know what to say."
Since the allegations were published, Freeman's Visa commercials were pulled and the Vancouver transit system dropped plans to use Freeman's voice for PA announcements. The Screen Actors Guild also said it might reconsider the Lifetime Achievement Award Freeman received earlier this year.
This is breaking news and will be updated.