Michael Douglas preemptively denies allegations that he masturbated in front of a former female co-worker and blackballed her from climbing the career ladder in Hollywood. The accuser supposedly worked with the Academy Award-winner's production company in New York, helping the organization's development. Apparently, work wasn't exactly great at that time that the actor had to let her go.
Sexual misconduct and improper behavior in the workplace are especially hot topics nowadays in Hollywood after a string of high profile cases has broken out over the last few months. Opening the floodgates to this was veteran and acclaimed producer Harvey Weinstein, who apparently used his power in the industry to prey on rising actresses with the promise that he will help them kick-off their careers. Since then, a slew of scandals followed involving Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Brett Ratner, former DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza, Arrowverse producer Andrew Kreisberg, One Tree Hill producer Mark Schwahn, Girls writer/producer Murray Miller, Charlie Rose, Jeffrey Tambor, and Matt Lauer. More recently, Marvel legend Stan Lee and Golden Globe winner James Franco received heat after women came out with similar allegations. Douglas, however, opted to open up about a brewing issue about him before it even broke out.
In a lengthy interview with Deadline, the 73-year-old actor addressed a potential allegation of inappropriate behavior against him coming from an old subordinate that he worked with more than three decades ago. Douglas went into detail about finding out about the brewing story from his lawyer just over the holiday season and vehemently denies the claims:
"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.......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."
When asked why he decided to come out instead of waiting for this controversy that may or may not break out, Douglas explained that he did not want to be on the defensive end. Instead, he wants to say his piece first before his name is tainted with anything and people quickly jump to conclusions -- a possible scenario if people first hear of the claims against him. This led him to talk about the #MeToo movement (which he supports) but says that the immediate conclusion made by the masses after hearing just one side of the story can also be detrimental. "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," the actor added.
Prior to Douglas coming out to tell this story, his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones attended the recently held Golden Globes alone. A rare feat, considering that the longtime couple usually attends Hollywood gatherings together. Instead, the actress took her brother to the event. What made that more interesting is that Douglas' father, 101-year-old icon Kirk Douglas, was being honored at the bash. That being said, he maintains that his family fully backs him up regarding this and is adamant all throughout the extensive interview that he has never masturbated in front of her accuser, or anyone. He is also confident that unlike what happened with other high profile sexual allegation scandals in Hollywood in recent months, there will be no more women coming forward to accuse him of similar things.