The Shady Side Of Morgan Freeman

In May 2018, CNN dropped a bombshell investigative report detailing accusations of sexual harassment against actor Morgan Freeman. Eight women and eight witnesses who worked with Freeman on films, within his production company, or for journalistic outlets covering the promotion of his films, described an alleged "pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman" that included claims that he made inappropriate comments to female coworkers and staffers and engaged in inappropriate and unwanted touching.

Several of Freeman's accusers cited the #MeToo movement as the reason they finally felt empowered to come forward with their claims about the powerful actor. Freeman issued a statement of apology, saying it was never his intent to make anyone feel "uncomfortable or disrespected."  

With every #MeToo revelation involving a once-beloved performer there is always an element of shock and disappointment, and with the accusations against the wildly popular Freeman, this is certainly the case. But perhaps the writing was on the wall about The Shawshank Redemption star this whole time? This is the shady side of Morgan Freeman.

The strange and sad story of his step-granddaughter

For years, Morgan Freeman was the subject of tabloid rumors that he had an affair with his late step-granddaughter, E'Dena Hines (pictured above), who was murdered by her boyfriend in a gruesome stabbing in August 2015. According to the National Enquirer, who first reported the alleged affair, Freeman began the secret relationship with Hines, the granddaughter of his first wife, Jeanette Adair Bradshaw, after he was allegedly confronted by his second wife, Myrna Colley-Lee, about a sexual encounter he had with Hines when she was a teenager.

Hines denied any such relationship with Freeman, saying that the stories were "not only untrue, they are also hurtful to me and my family." Freeman issued a more general denial in response to reports that he and Hines were planning to marry. "The recent reports of any pending marriage or romantic relationship of me to anyone are defamatory fabrications from the tabloid media designed to sell papers," he said in a statement via Radar Online.

The allegation was brought back to light during Hines' killer's murder trial, when his attorney stated in court that Hines had confessed to him that Freeman had "engaged in a sexually inappropriate relationship with her." The attorney didn't elaborate, and we're not sure why the allegation was even mentioned in that context, but it's clear now that in light of the new allegations against Freeman, this rumor probably isn't going away anytime soon.

Important distinction: He's a sexist, not a misogynist

Morgan Freeman raised a few eyebrows in June 2016 when he made some startling comments about his business partner, Lori McCreary (pictured above), during an industry conference they both attended. According to The Hollywood Reporter, while Freeman spoke about the founding of their production company, Revelations Entertainment, he said that McCreary "had a dress on cut to here." When a moderator attempted to humorously deflect from the comment, Freeman doubled down and said, "She doesn't want to be thought of as a pretty face. She wants to be thought of as serious. But you can't get away from the short dresses." Freeman then acknowledged that his commentary was "sexist" but "not misogynistic," as McCreary sat by offering no visible reaction.

When he was later lightly confronted about the remarks by Today's Savannah Guthrie, he did not apologize. In fact, he was incredulous it had became a news story. "It was just something I said in jest about when I first met her ... more than 20 years ago," Freeman said, which he then followed by literally sticking out his tongue and razzing the notion that what he viewed as an innocuous joke could become a controversy.

As of this writing, McCreary hasn't issued any public statements — or odd sound effects for that matter — regarding Freeman's comments.

An accident, a rumor, and a quiet settlement

In August 2008, Morgan Freeman and a passenger, Demaris Meyer (pictured above), were seriously injured in a single vehicle crash outside Charleston, Miss. Freeman lost control of the vehicle, causing it to leave the road, and flip "several times," according to Reuters. Freeman suffered "a broken arm, a broken elbow and minor shoulder damage," as well as nerve damage that caused paralysis in his left hand

Meyer suffered "a broken left wrist and right scapula, a torn labrum in her right shoulder and numerous bruises and lacerations," according to TMZ. She also sued Freeman, alleging he was driving drunk at the time, but eventually settled with him out of court for undisclosed terms. The rumor mill went wild with infidelity chatter, since Freeman was married at the time, but Meyer squashed those in a press conference when she declared that they were "just friends."

Freeman, by the way, was never issued a citation for the accident, and police on the scene did not suspect alcohol was involved. But that wasn't the end of the controversy...  

Timing is everything

Remember that rumor mill we just mentioned? Well, it kicked into high gear just days after the aforementioned car accident when Freeman confirmed that he and his wife, Myrna Colley-Lee (pictured above), were divorcing after 24 years of marriage. Though Freeman's lawyer told Today that Freeman and Colley-Lee had "been separated since December of 2007," accusations of infidelity swirled, with all eyes landing on Meyer, his passenger at the time of the wreck, even though she denied a romantic connection.

Reports from other tabloid outlets actually backed up Meyer's denial but claimed there was another woman — his wife's former friend — with whom Freeman had allegedly "become intimate." When the dust settled on their divorce, the details of their agreement were sealed, however it was reported that Colley-Lee may have walked away with a whopping $400 million.

Granted, that's a lot of unsubstantiated tabloid speculation regarding Freeman's shady dealings with women, but there have been times when Freeman even admitted to not being such a stand-up guy.

He was a rolling stone

In a wide-ranging 2012 Esquire profile of the Now You See Me star, Freemen was so candid that the writer even pointed out that he "declares his past, never apologizes for it or dresses himself down. ... He declares the way he sees it." Perhaps the best example of Freeman's openness came when he discussed his issues with fatherhood.

Segueing from his opinion about his own father, of whom he said, "I did not want to grow up to be like him. I had to fight not to," Freeman casually revealed that he essentially abandoned his first two children. Of his oldest son, Alfonso, Freeman said that he had no relationship with him until he was 19 years old, because he "left town" when the boy's mother informed him that she was pregnant. He did the exact same thing when he "ran into another situation," which is how he referred to the second unnamed woman that he impregnated. "Another kid, and I left town again," Freeman said.

He then referenced an adoption, as well as a biological daughter with his first wife, wrapping up his full commentary on his four children by saying, "I guess you'd call it dysfunctional, I don't know." Yep, that's one way of putting it.

Seriously, who does this?

This one is admittedly a bit of a stretch, but when framed by the backdrop of some of the things of which Morgan Freeman has now been accused, or has outright done himself in the public arena, it comes across a bit shady. During an appearance on The View, comedian Tracy Morgan revealed that Freeman once slapped him in the face when they had dinner together.

Morgan, of course, joked about the whole thing, saying he was stunned when Freeman requested they grab a bite together because "that's basically God." As a result of his excitement over the meeting, Morgan said he was "talking a mile a minute," which Freeman shut down by allegedly slapping him on the cheek and saying, "Stop!"

Morgan was also quick to say that he knew the slap was "love," and that he considered the admonishment to be something of a badge of honor, but is Freeman's possible willingness to cross normal lines of decent behavior in the name of hubris an indicator of other problematic behavior?  

His views on race seem a bit...obtuse

Morgan Freeman is not known for holding back his political opinions. In fact, he's such a vocal advocate on issues such as police brutality, the media, and marijuana legislation, that he often goes viral as a result of his punchy remarks. Sometimes that doesn't go so well, like when he discussed his disdain for Black History Month during a 2005 interview on 60 Minutes (via Snopes).

Freeman said he thinks the idea of Black History Month is "ridiculous" because "black history is American history" and it should not be "relegated" to just a month. He then said the only way to get rid of racism is to stop talking about it. "I'm going to stop calling you a white man. And I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," he told interviewer Mike Wallace. "You know me as Morgan Freeman. You're not going to say, 'I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.' Hear what I'm saying?"

The exchange attracted plenty of criticism. The Rev. Al Sharpton described Freeman's remarks to Showbiz Tonight as "idealistic," but ultimately "naive." 

Freeman raised eyebrows again nearly a decade later when he told CNN's Don Lemon that he didn't believe race was a factor in wealth distribution and that discussing race issues as they relate to economic inequality makes it "a bigger issue than it needs to be."

I am Morgan Freeman. Ask my publicist anything.

Reddit AMAs or "Ask Me Anything" sessions are a way for celebrities and other notable figures to respond directly to fan inquiries. The result is generally a funny, freewheeling, and revelatory conversation, but something went seriously wrong with Morgan Freeman's 2013 AMA, which he was using to promote the film Oblivion.

Redditors sensed that Freeman wasn't posting, but rather, allowing letting a press agent to answer for him. The result was a boring exchange filled with one-word answers and a lack of anything that couldn't be found in existing press materials. As user "ecklcakes" astutely pointed out: "I mean come on, the username is OblivionMovie." 

Reddit leadership even had to hold an AMA the next day to address the disappointment, admitting that "someone in the room" was typing the answers for Freeman but that Reddit had been promised that the actor was the one providing the answers. We'll never know if that's true, but regardless of whether Freeman couldn't be bothered to directly address his fans, or did so with the enthusiasm of a teenager at a family reunion, it's shady either way.