Morgan Freeman: It was Mandela and God, but at the age of eighty he had to explain himself for sexual harassment

During most of his career he enjoyed great prestige, but from 2007 he was accused of not having done things so well.
During most of his career he enjoyed great prestige, but from 2007 he was accused of not having done things so well.

Nelson Mandela himself suggested that Morgan Freeman play his character in the film Undefeated. She also put herself in the shoes of the president of the United States. And he even played God in comedy Almighty, clad in a spotless white suit. Until 2008, the American actor enjoyed an indisputable prestige that was not only limited to the acting plane.

Oscar winner for best supporting actor for One Dollar Million Baby He was a benchmark for the African-American community. However, from one day to the next, as a result of a serious accident, when his car overturned, in the company of a woman, the blameless man had to give many explanations of situations in which he was involved, one after another, which were forming a great snowball.

The image of exemplary husband vanished in a matter of days. It is that it began to speculate that he had an “open relationship” with his wife Myrna Colley-Lee, whom he divorced after 25 years. The truth is that Freeman’s accident occurred in 2008, a year after the separation. It had been so serious that he had to be airlifted to hospital. Traveling with him was Demaris Meyer. The media suspected that it was “the other” and was the reason for the couple’s separation.

To make matters worse, the tabloid magazine National Enquirer, involved him in a romantic relationship with E’Dena Hines, the granddaughter of his first wife, Jeanette Adair Bradshaw, whom Morgan had adopted with Myrna. Romance that he always denied. The young woman tragically died at the age of 33, in 2015, stabbed by her boyfriend in the middle of the street. A true tragedy for Freeman and his family.

Morgan Freeman with her granddaughter-in-law, from her first marriage, E'Dena Hines, at the 2005 Golden Globes. She was murdered by her boyfriend in 2015 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Morgan Freeman with her granddaughter-in-law, from her first marriage, E’Dena Hines, at the 2005 Golden Globes. She was murdered by her boyfriend in 2015 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It was the family of the femicide Lamar Davenport, who after the trial blamed the actor for everything, and for having abused the victim when he was younger. “Morgan Freeman upset her. He caused this,” Davenport’s mother yelled at a reporter. His son had stabbed him 25 times in the chest. He had done it under the influence of drugs and alcohol, so his sentence was reduced to 20 years in prison. “The world will never know how talented he was and how much he had to offer,” Morgan Freeman said after the macabre news was released. “Her family of hers and friends of hers were lucky to know who she was. Her star will continue to shine bright in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers,” he added of the granddaughter, who was an aspiring actress.

Fate reserved more problems for him at 80 years old. The one who was still one of the most respected men in Hollywood was denounced in 2018 by eight women in an extensive CNN article, and went on to join the list of #MeToo stalkersa movement that began in October 2017. The women spoke of “inappropriate conduct” and their statements were supported by eight other women who had witnessed the harassment. The article’s co-author, Chloe Melas, investigated Freeman after feeling affected by his conduct at a press trip for the film. A hit with style. The journalist was six months pregnant and assured that the actor held her hand, looked her up and down and looking at her belly said: “I wish I was there.”

Together with Tim Robbins, in one of his memorable films, Sueños de Libertad GTV ARCHIVE (The Grosby Group)
Together with Tim Robbins, in one of his memorable films, Sueños de Libertad GTV ARCHIVE (The Grosby Group)

From that moment, he began his investigation. In the same shoot, a production assistant said that she received inappropriate comments about her clothes on a daily basis. But on one occasion, the situation escalated. According to the assistant, he repeatedly tried to lift her skirt while asking her if she was wearing underwear. For fear of losing their jobs, the women waited to tell what happened. Some who had worked at his production company Revelations Entertainment, created to promote black artists, said that there was a climate of normalized harassment. One employee said: “Freeman would come over to my desk just to say hello and he would just stand there, staring at my breasts.” If she suddenly looked her up and down, in front of everyone, while laughing, someone would tell her: “Don’t worry, it’s just Morgan.”

After the publication, the actor spoke: “Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows that I am not someone who would intentionally offend or make anyone feel uncomfortable. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected you. That was never my intention.”

The actor with whom his wife was for 25 years, Myrna Colley-Lee (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
The actor with whom his wife was for 25 years, Myrna Colley-Lee (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

Some time later, the accusations came to nothing. Justice did not intervene and there was no evidence. There was even talk of journalistic fraud. In a note published by the Ethical Network portal of the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for New Ibero-American Journalism, it is claimed that Chleo Melas fabricated the evidence. The article signed by Toomo Terada, says that of the 16 people who accused the actor, 14 were anonymous and that two of those sources confirmed that they never had problems with him. “It was all a fraud by a racist CNN reporter,” said the author of the note.

His exemplary career

Morgan Freeman was born on June 1, 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee. His mother, Mayme Edna, was a teacher and his father, Morgan Porterfield Freeman, was a barber. His grandmother raised him in Charleston until he was six years old. After that loss he went to live with his parents in Greenwood, Mississippi, where he began to experience domestic violence. His father was an alcoholic.

Perhaps as an escape route from that hostile world due to the racism that divided society, where income was enough for subsistence, Morgan showed interest in movies and acting at a young age. He saved up coins so he could go to the movies with his favorite stars like Gary Cooper and Sidney Poitier. At school I participate in plays. And he went on to win a state competition in that category, in Mississippi.

In 1955 he finished high school and for his performance had received a partial theater scholarship to attend Jackson State University. But his plans were different. He joined the Air Force to become a fighter pilot. His enthusiasm did not last long as instead of taking to the skies he was assigned to mechanic and radar technician duties. During World War II, the Tuskgee squadron, made up of black pilots, had paved the way for their courage and performance. He watched planes up close and hadn’t been relegated to the kitchen like many blacks. But it wasn’t what he wanted. He worked for four years and returned to his first love, acting. Life made it possible for him to fulfill his dream of flying his own aircraft. He got his private pilot’s license at age 65, and owned at least three planes: a Cessna Citation 501, a twin-engine Cessna 414 and an Emivest SJ30.

Morgan Freeman with James Lipton in one of his earliest works, the 1978 play Mighty Gents (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
Morgan Freeman with James Lipton in one of his earliest works, the 1978 play Mighty Gents (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)

At that stage in which he moved to Hollywood, Morgan said that in the beginning times were hard. The savings went to an apartment on the outskirts of the city, he couldn’t get a job, his savings ran out and he went hungry. He eventually got a job as a postman and his salary allowed him to buy a car and enroll in acting schools that admitted people with his skin color.

In the early 1960s, he moved to New York, where he found small day jobs that allowed him to perform at night auditions.

In 1967 the actor married his first wife, Jeanette, and landed his first major role, in an African-American Broadway production called Hello Dolly! And he also got to work at The Nigger Lovers. His face began to be seen every day on a children’s program, The Electric Company, starting in 1971. The program, which belonged to public television (PBS), had the objective of teaching reading. At that time, Morgan was already 34 years old.. That same year she achieved her first appearance in film Who says i can’t ride a rainbow! Over the years television began to wear him down. And at the same time, his marriage was falling apart, so he started drinking too much alcohol.

His successful career began to be threaded with discreet roles. However, her first upward push came from her Oscar and Golden Globe nominations when she co-starred with Christopher Reeve in Street Smart (1987), where he conquered the public and film critics. Gradually he began to get more and more interesting roles and movies.

In a scene from Million dollar baby, leaning on the ring, next to the actor and director of that film, Clint Eastwood. In this film comes the consecration of him (Collection Christophel © Lakeshore Entertainment / Malpaso Productions Lakeshore Entertainment / Malpas / Collection ChristopheL via AFP (The Grosby Group)
In a scene from Million dollar baby, leaning on the ring, next to the actor and director of that film, Clint Eastwood. In this film comes the consecration of him (Collection Christophel © Lakeshore Entertainment / Malpaso Productions Lakeshore Entertainment / Malpas / Collection ChristopheL via AFP (The Grosby Group)

The Oscar came to him in 2005 as best supporting actor for Million Dollar Baby (2005) -a boxing world drama-. By then, she already had the public in her pocket after having played the endearing chauffeur of Driving Miss Daisy (1989). In 1990, already at the top of her career, she starred in a prison story that became a cult movie, Dreams of liberty (1994), for which he received several nominations, as well as with Undefeated (2009). the creepy Seven (1995)along with Brad Pitt, was a box office success, as was the Batman trilogy as Lucius Fox (Batman begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

After the events that unfolded from 2008, one after another, and that put his reputation at stake, nothing affected his career, which is an accumulation of successes. Until now, the actor continues to work, with no intention of retiring. He has at least six premieres ahead of him.

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Morgan Freeman: It was Mandela and God, but at the age of eighty he had to explain himself for sexual harassment