Michael Douglas has sensationally come forward to deny that he sexually harassed a woman 32 years ago. The double Oscar winner spoke to Deadline after he says he was approached by the Hollywood Reporter who put the claims of the woman to him.
The star says the woman claims he masturbated in front of her and he is coming forward because his children are terrified the 73-year-old will be labeled a sexual predator.
In the shocking new interview with Deadline, Douglas says ‘he felt the need to get ahead’ of the ‘cautionary tale’.
The actor revealed he was approached about the allegations just before Christmas – and on the same day his son Dylan was accepted to college.
DEADLINE: Why are you coming forward before an expose story that may or may not surface, when your preemptive move will draw attention and create controversy all its own?
DOUGLAS: I felt the need to get ahead of this. It pertains to me but I’m also getting a sense of how it reflects in our culture, and what is going on today. I see it as a cautionary tale. Right before the holidays in December, the day my son got early acceptance to the college he wants to go to, when we were all ecstatic, I got a message from my attorney that The Hollywood Reporter wanted to do a story about an employee that worked for me approximately 32 years ago. She claims that, One, I used colorful language in front of her, not at her, but that I used colorful language. 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. My attorney was asked, ‘do I have any comment?’ I said, yeah, let me speak to the reporter. I tried to think to reach back thirty plus years to try to remember. I remembered this woman: sophisticated intelligent, good sense of humor. A novelist, who has written books and published novels and was an active feminist, and proud of it. My head was reeling. I just couldn’t put this together. I’ve had no contact with her, in thirty-plus years. I talked to the reporter and said, ‘listen, as far as using colorful language in front her, I apologize. 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.’ I work out of my house, my apartment in New York at the time, to the best of my recollection. As to colorful language, she may have overheard private conversations, and if she was offended, she could have excused herself. 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.
Finally, masturbating in front of her? I don’t know where to begin. This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever.
The reporter told me, ‘she did say that you never harassed her, never touched her,’ and I said…okay. So I didn’t know where this comes from. The reporter said, ‘let me digest this, and we’ll sit on it over the holidays and get back into it after.’ My family had a lovely holiday, we came back and literally on the day of my arrival, The Hollywood Reporter got in touch with me and said, she’s running around, possibly trying to give this story to other people, so we’re going to run with it. I said, I don’t think that’s justification, just because you might get scooped, to run a story like this. My attorney did say they had been approached by Variety or somebody else, asking if there was anything going on.
I was floored. I didn’t know what to say and I tried to digest it. The accusations are minimal, except of course for the idea of masturbating in front of her. She supposedly had three friends who would back her up, that she had mentioned this to. I pride myself of being so supportive of the women’s movement. My mother was an actress, and I myself married to an actress and have been supportive