Speed Reads

Sexual misconduct revolution

Michael Douglas pre-emptively denies sexual harassment claim

Actor Michael Douglas told Deadline on Tuesday that at least one publication is working on an article relaying accusations from a former employee that he used lewd language in front of her and masturbated in front of her 32 years ago. Douglas said he "was uncomfortable waiting to be the villain in a narrative crafted by either The Hollywood Reporter or Variety," Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr. writes, and he reached out to deny the allegations. "The accusation story will most likely follow elsewhere, but in this moment of 'she said, he said' trial by journalism, it was never specified whose version had to be first," Fleming noted, then printed his interview with Douglas.

Douglas said the unidentified "lady who was involved in development at my company" told The Hollywood Reporter that he "used colorful language in front of her, not at her," that "in conversations I had in front of her, on the phone, that I spoke raunchily, or dirtily with friends of mine," that he had "blackballed her from the industry," and that he'd "masturbated in front of her." He said he did dismiss her because her area of production wasn't performing well, and "if people from the industry called me to ask about her, I would have been honest, but I never blackballed her."

Douglas confessed to using "colorful language" and apologized "if I used coarse language with my friends," but he called the masturbation claim "a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever." Masturbating in front of female employees is "something I've only heard about the last year," he said. Douglas unequivocally denied harassing the woman or any other woman in his 50-year career, said he supports "the #MeToo movement with all my heart," and complained about the lack of "due process." You can read his entire pre-emptive denial at Deadline.