Morgan Freeman looks downcast after accusations of sexual harassment

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Freeman's attorney, Robert Schwartz, sent a 10 page letter to CNN chief Jeff Zucker, accusing the network of "malicious intent, falsehoods, slight-of-hand, an absence of editorial control, and journalistic malpractice".

Schwartz claims that one of the accusers, CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas, was motivated by personal bias and "baited and prodded supposed "witnesses" to say bad things about" the Oscar victor, 80, in the article, which she coauthored with An Phung.

He wrote: "It is correct that, during the interview, Mr. Freeman said, 'I wish I was there.' But Ms. Melas had no factual basis to have interpreted that as a statement about her, or as sexual harassment".

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Among the seven other accusers in the report, an unnamed production assistant who worked on the set of the 2017 movie "Going in Style" said she experienced several months of sexual harassment from Freeman on the film's set, including unwanted touching and comments. All of them spoke anonymously, except for CNN reporter Chloe Melas, who co-authored the piece. They are demanding a retraction and an apology. Interestingly, at least one alleged victim has in fact come out to claim that her story was not reported the way it happened.

Freeman as denied the allegations and apologized (twice) to anyone he inadvertently made feel uncomfortable. "CNN totally misrepresented the video and took my remarks out of context".

"CNN has inflicted serious injury on [Freeman's] reputation and career", the letter reads.

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As a result of CNN's report, Freeman has lost out on a marketing campaign with Visa, and the city of Vancouver opted not to go with him as the voice of its public transportation system, Variety reported.

The actor had initially apologised to "anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected" following the reports, but in a second statement said that he "did not assault women". I did not offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex. 'I am devastated that 80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye, by Thursday's media reports, ' it read. "Any suggestion that I did so is completely false".

The lawyer called on the network to apologize and retract portions of its story involving Lori McCreary, Freeman's business partner of more than two decades. "CNN stands by its reporting and will respond forcefully to any attempt by Mr. Freeman or his representatives to intimidate us from covering this important public issue".

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CNN said McCreary witnessed one alleged incident and was also the target of some of the actor's demeaning comments.