Michael Douglas denied sexual harassment allegations in an interview with Deadline on Tuesday, January 9.
The Oscar winner, 73, chose to come forward preemptively after being contacted by The Hollywood Reporter and Variety regarding claims of sexual misconduct made by an employee who worked for him more than 30 years ago.
According to Douglas, the publications reached out for comment regarding the woman’s claims that he used colorful and suggestive language in front of her, masturbated in front of her and blackballed her from the industry after he fired her.
“This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever,” he told Deadline of the allegation of sexual misconduct, saying that his “head was reeling.”
As for the other claims, Douglas apologized for his language but insisted that “none of it was directed at her.”
“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,” he said. “If people from the industry called me to ask about her, I would have been honest, but I never blackballed her.”
Douglas calls the accusations “extremely painful” but added, “I’d confess to anything I thought I was responsible for.”
He said what hurt the most was “having to share something like this to your wife and your children,” adding, “My kids are really upset, has to go to school worrying this is going to be in some article about me, being a sexual harasser. They’re scared and very uncomfortable.”
Douglas said his wife of 17 years, Catherine Zeta-Jones, with whom he shares two children, Dylan, 17, and Carys, 14, has been “very supportive” amid the situation that he described as “a complete nightmare.”
“I’m going to continue the way I’ve always treated women, as equals and my peers. Working closely with them. I would hope that as a cautionary tale, we will be careful about accusing, and being accused,” he continued.
Referencing the #MeToo movement and current climate in Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal and several other sexual misconduct allegations made against high-profile actors including Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and Jeffrey Tambor, Douglas added, “I hope this movement continues to grow, but that there is care shown in who is accused and how the accusation is handled.”
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