Actor Michael Douglas has pre-emptively denied allegations that he once masturbated in front of a female employee.
Since the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, increasingly more sexual assault, abuse and misconduct allegations have come up against big industry players.
Douglas decided to approach Deadline with his story which he calls “a cautionary tale.” He explains to the publication: “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.”
He explains that The Hollywood Reporter approached him before Christmas to inform him that they’re writing a story on him based on the claims of a woman who worked for Douglas’ production company in New York thirty two years ago. She claims that while she worked there, Douglas “used colourful language”, “spoke raunchily, or dirtily” to his friends in front of her, that he fired and “blackballed her from the industry”, and that he masturbated in front of her.
Douglas said that he “never blackballed her” and that regarding the masturbating claims, “I don’t know where to begin. This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever.” The woman said that Douglas never harassed or touched her.
He went on to say how proud he is of the changes that are happening in the industry and that accusations like these can damage Time’s Up and other initiatives: “I support the #metoo movement with all my heart. 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 concluded: “I’m just happy to be able to present my story. I’m grateful to have the support of my wife and my kids who’ve had to share this with me. It has been a complete nightmare. It’s really hard to conceive that I have to defend myself against a situation that is 32 years ago, and it was not what they are saying it was.”