Michael Douglas has preemptively combated sexual harassment claims from a former employee ahead of their possible publication.
The Wall Street and Ant-Man actor spoke with Deadline after we was contacted by The Hollywood Reporter concerning a sexual harassment allegation from a former employee who worked for him 32 years ago. Douglas was blindsided by the story and wished to get out in front of the claim.
"She claims that, One, I used colorful language in front of her, not at her, but that I used colorful language," Douglas said. "Two, she claims that in conversations I had in front of her, on the phone, that I spoke raunchily, or dirtily with friends of mine, in private conversations. I fired her eventually, for the work she was doing, but Three, she claims that I blackballed her from the industry and stopped her form getting another job. And then, Four, she claims that I masturbated in front of her."
Douglas said his "head was reeling" when he learned of the allegations, which have yet to be published. He acknowledged that he very well may have spoken inappropriately in front of the woman but said the masturbation allegation was not true.
"I talked to the reporter and said, 'listen, as far as using colorful language in front her, I apologize," Douglas said. "'None of it was directed at her; she didn't say it was. It was my office and that was the tone that I set and as far as conversations with friends.' ... As to colorful language, she may have overheard private conversations, and if she was offended, she could have excused herself."
He continued, "As far as blackballing her, that was completely untrue. She was a lady who was involved in development at my company, and we just didn't have a good development record in the time she was there, so I just moved on. I never blackballed her. If people from the industry called me to ask about her, I would have been honest, but I never blackballed her."
And to the masturbation allegation, she characterized it as "a complete lie" and "fabrication" with "no truth to it whatsoever."
Douglas hypothesized that the woman could be disgruntled from her firing all those years ago or she could be looking to receive a book deal. He also says he felt that THR was going to hastily publish the accusation without proper corroboration due to a competing outlet catching wind of the story.
"I support the #metoo movement with all my heart," Douglas said. "I have always supported women, along the way. This is the kind of step that can set that movement back. Being accused, without a chance [to defend yourself] in court. To not even really have the information in front of you, to be able to argue or defend yourself. There is no due process, no chance of seeing evidence in front of me from my accuser. It worries me."
He later adds, "I find this whole thing really irresponsible and it hurts people who are supportive of this movement and who believe in it... I hope this movement continues to grow, but that there is care shown in who is accused and how the accusation is handled."
The Hollywood Reporter has not yet commented on their alleged report.